Speaking honestly, the mainstream hip hop scene in Philadelphia has always been either hot or cold. Since the days of Cassidy, Freeway, The Roots and Beanie Siegel, the city hasn’t recently had a dope rapper grab the baton and keep it going. The metropolis has always been a part of its own musical movement though, maintaining a style that’s strictly specific to the residents there. Enter Meek Mill- a 23-year-old firestarter, with a crisp flow, peppered with one liners that would make you shake your head and wonder if 1999 rap finally came back. Mill’s a young North Philly hustler who’s already attained a grand co-sign from Atlanta rapper T.I. With his latest mixtape, Mr. Philadelphia, Mill’s determined to carry his city into the spotlight to stay.
AllHipHop.com:So we heard you were at the wrong end of a battle and that’s what inspired you to rap with a little more effort.
Meek Mill: Oh yeah, but I was rapping already. I was battling and I lost the battle and you know, I don’t like losing at nothing so I decided to take it serious from then on out.
AllHipHop.com: Weren’t you in a group though?
Meek Mill: That was like two years after I lost the battle. When I lost, I was like, 14 [years old] and I was doing a lot of rapping and writing. By the time I was 16 I was hanging out around Philly and I found out that a couple of my homies rap so then we started making tapes off karaoke machines and just formed the group.
AllHipHop.com: Do you guys still speak? How’re they taking your current buzz?
Meek Mill: Yeah, they’re all my homies, one of ‘em’s locked up, but we always hang together everyday anyway. They’re still my homies ain’t nothing change.
AllHipHop.com: What made you want to go solo?
Meek Mill: Nothing made me want to go solo. I mean, they weren’t taking rapping as seriously as I was taking it, where I’d put my life on the line for it, like it was my job. But they had things to do, but I was trying to pursue this 100%.
Meek Mill – “Hottest In Da City”
AllHipHop.com: What’s going on in Philly right now, besides Meek Mill?
Meek Mill: Um, nothing really. Like, right now, I’m the person that’s getting the most bread, I came up under State Property and Major Figgas and Cassidy but all those guys are kinda laid back on it right now. They’re not going hard like they were. I came up on them. They the ones that motivated me to rap really-those Philly guys and they were right there in the same area as me. I was watching them blow at the same time. It was good to see somebody from your neighborhood actually blowing up it makes you want to go even harder because you know you could do it yourself.
AllHipHop.com: Speaking of motivation, we hear you want to start a community based program.
Meek Mill: Yeah, it’s a foundation to help my community when I get a chance. I just want to support the kids coming up in any way possible. Any situation we put together-it’s not together yet- but anything we put together is gonna be able to support the kids of the community and show them they can be something.
AllHipHop.com: What’s going on with you and Grand Hustle? Are you and Tip hiding the fact that you’re signed to them?
Meek Mill: Nah, I’m not actually signed to Grand Hustle, but I’m affiliated with them.
AllHipHop.com: What happened during your first meeting with Tip?
Meek Mill: When I went to LA like three years ago, my man Charlie Mack took me right to Tip. We were in the studio, I let him hear a couple things, and he was like, “I like youngin’…” And that was that.
AllHipHop.com: “Rose Red” is a huge hit. But it’s a regional success. How did Rick Ross end up on the remix for it?
Meek Mill: Rick Ross I met offa Twitter basically. He was like, “What’s up Philly? What’s going on?” And I tweeted like, “Everybody retweet this if you want Rick Ross on ‘Rose Red-Remix’.” It was like 5,000 people RTed it, just kept sending it to him, so he saw it was a strong buzz behind it, and was like, “I’ma do it.”
AllHipHop.com: You did a stint behind bars very recently. How’d you end up there? What happened?
Meek Mill: I’d got locked up for selling drugs. I was fighting a case before I met Tip and ‘em, but it was like, as soon as the case started picking up with them, I had to go to trial and I lost the case so I had to do 11 months.
AllHipHop.com: How’d you pass the time? Did you do a lot of writing?
Meek Mill: I wasn’t writing in jail but I definitely had a plan as far as getting back out there and going as hard as ever. And that’s what I did. I came home and went hard, ‘cause a lot of people were popping while I was in jail, I was hearing the radio, a couple people were popping. When I came home, it was like, “I’m coming to change all that.”
AllHipHop.com: When opportunity comes knocking, would you rather it be a major label or the means to do it on your own? Because you know you don’t necessarily need a label to make it nowadays.
Meek Mill: At the end of the day, you want to be the biggest artist in the game, you know what I’m saying? ‘Cause those are the people [major labels] that are gonna promote your album across the world and spend real money.
AllHipHop.com: You start working on the debut yet?
Meek Mill: Yeah, now I am. You know I just dropped the mixtape, I think it’s gonna be the last one before I put out the album. But a lot of situations coming my way, labels calling and all that, so it might be able to come out on a label. Ain’t no telling. Maybe 10% is done. I ain’t really been on it, I just started, you know what I’m saying? I just got a couple songs. I was in the studio for a month straight but the whole month I was just focusing on that one mixtape at the time. I did like, 50 songs for my mixtape.
AllHipHop.com: You feel like the fate of the Philly Hip Hop is on you?
Meek Mill: Yeah, that’s what it feels like as of now. I want Philly to come back strong like, Atlanta, Miami… They all got a lot of artists at one time but as of right now [in Philly], nothing’s really going on.
AllHipHop.com: What role do you think you play in Philly Rap?
Meek Mill: My role is to go platinum, be a big artist from Philly, You know we ain’t had a big artist in a minute. You know what I’m saying? Like, a platinum selling artist. I wanna be like one of the biggest artists in Philly. And the last platinum selling artist was like Eve, I think. My goal is to stay on top and stay in the game and be relevant for a nice period of time.
This is what everybody has been waiting for, Meek Mill’s “Mr. Philadelphia” is finally here. Hosted by DJ Ill Will & DJ Rockstar. Features from Vado, Rick Ross, T.I., Young Chris, Beanie Sigel, Peedi Crakk and more. Tracklisting & after the jump.
1.Love My Team
2.Indian Bounce (P### by Jahlil Beats)
3.Rose Red (Remix) feat T.I. Vado Rick Ross (P### by Jahlil Beats)
4.Hate Is My Motivator (P### by Cardiak)
5.Hard In Da Paint
6.Legggo feat Peedi Crakk Young Chris (P### by Jahlil Beats)
8.Light Up a Candle feat Ms. Jade Young Steff (P### by Conway)
9.This Is How We Do It feat Beanie Sigel, Mel Love Mike Knoxx (P### by Cardiak)
12.Aint Gonna Sleep (P### by Cardiak)
13.Throw It Back feat Daddy-O (P### by Sapp)
14.Ballin feat Shizz Nitty (P### by Jahlil Beats)
15.Hardbody feat Peedi Crakk Shizz Nitty (P### by Cardiak)
17.Banned From TV
18.Where Dey Do Dat feat Young Chris (P### by Jahlil Beats)
19.Dope Boy feat Mel Love Mike Tucker (P### by YRoc Beats)
20.Gotta Get It (P### by YRoc Beats)
22.Stuck In Da Trap feat Wiz
23.Bullet Wit Ya Name feat Manny Wellz (P### by Jahlil Beats)