Meek Mill opened up to RapRadar’s Elliott Wilson in front of a packed house of diehard fans Thursday night, July 2, at New York’s Gramercy Theater. Wilson’s CRWN interview series puts fans face-to-face with their favorite artists for an intimate exchange of energy and ideas. Meek (and his watch) shined in the lights as he and Wilson controlled the stage from matching thrones. Promoting the release of his second studio LP, Dreams Worth More Than Money, Meek spoke candidly about friends, family, and the new levels he’s hoping to reach in his career. From last year's bid behind bars to his new relationship with Nicki Minaj, Meek didn’t shy away from any topic during the nearly 90-minute discussion. Here are seven things we learned, including stories of his creative differences with Nicki and why you will never see him rocking purple hair.
Meek Loves LA. The Philly boy has been enjoying the West Coast lifestyle lately, but only because he brought his homies along for the ride. "I got the hood with me, so it ain't Hollywood, it's Hollyhood,” Meek explained. “We don't be coming around all the industry people like that." The Entourage lifestyle costs, though. "When you see me with my friends and shit all the time, know that costs a lot of mother----in money.” It’s worth it in the long run, he admits. "I bring my whole squad with me so I can stay grounded, stay true to myself… You way far from home and it's a bunch of people in Hollywood that ain't from Hollywood, and they ain't grounded… Y'all don't wanna see me go to LA and come back with purple hair or no crazy s--t like that. I can't come to my grandma house with no purple hair.”
He may feud with BAE about music but it's still all good. Meek’s queen, Nicki Minaj made a brief appearance at the Gramercy, but left to catch a flight before things got underway. When Wilson noted how open both artists have been about the relationship in their music, Meek explained he’s always incorporated his real life into his lyrics. “Before Nicki I was just in the field doing what I wanted to. I used to be rapping about that s--t [but] I’m in a relationship now. So, I try to give the people the inside on it to some level.” Behind-the-scenes, Meek and Nicki’s opposing skill sets create both tension and harmony when it comes to their music. “Nicki’s more of a mainstream artist, me, I’m more an under[ground] artist,” Meek explains, referencing his bangers “I’m a Boss” and the Dreams & Nightmares “Intro,” which are big in the streets but not on the charts. “I’ve got a special talent of doing that. She got a special talent of making mainstream songs. So, she was fighting for me to have a mainstream song...and we argued back and forth,” he admits. “She ended up winning. Now we got the Chris Brown, Meek Mill and Nicki sound out, and it’s my shit, too now.”
Bump the critics that say all he does is 'yell'. “If you say that, you don’t know me. If you say I just yell on records, that means you ain’t a real fan of me and I would never even give your comment the time of day,” Meek said calmly, before citing his more subtle tracks, “Traumatized,” “Tony’s Story,” and his freestyle over Drake’s “Ride” beat. Overall, he noted that he doesn’t see much common sense in most comment sections. “I be looking at the Internet, the people that be commenting on shit, they don’t even know who Missy Elliot is!”
He didn’t write any bars while behind bars. “Jail was terrible. It was a nightmare,” Meek said of the almost six month bid he served last year after having his probation revoked. “I didn’t know how long I was gonna be in there. If I would have known how long, I wouldn’t have been stressing as much. But when you don’t know when you coming home, everything is in the air— You just living days for nothing. Just walking around everyday waiting on them to call your name.” Meek's celebrity status didn’t make things any easier. The judge ordered him to be isolated from the masses for much of his time. “They didn’t want me near nobody. Imagine being locked in your bathroom for 23 hours a day for like a month. The cell about the same size as the bathroom, and that’s if you got a small house.” He couldn’t bring himself to write lyrics in that state. “I couldn’t really write no raps. I ain’t write a rap on paper in like seven years. So when I’m in jail and I’m trying to write shit on paper so I can remember, I couldn’t do it. And I like to be in a good mood when I’m rapping. In jail I never got in a good mood.”
He hears all the rumors. Meek loves social media, admitting he used to ask friends “what’s popping on the gram?” while he was locked up. “I used to hear people like, 'Yeah I heard you got beat up in there today. You got knocked out.' He continued, "I used to be hearing all the rumors. I was like, 'Damn, I wonder do people believe this?' They said Nicki dumped me when I said (a lyric) on Twitter… But I wasn’t even talking about that. You ain’t gon’ never be able to figure my Twitter out.”
It was his mom’s birthday. Meek had the crowd wish his mother a happy birthday on his iPhone camera before reflecting on the years she spent boosting clothes for a living. “My mom used to be a booster. She got fired from her job, and you know shit was tight. My mom knew I liked Jordans all the time and she couldn’t let me down, so she switched the trap. Turned into a trap queen. I used to stay fresh, so I ain’t care.”
His BET Awards performance was a major moment. According to Elliott, industry insiders are saying Meek’s BET Awards performance gave his albums sales a push. Meek didn’t confirm or deny, but he did describe his performance at last Sunday’s BET Awards, “dope.” “Me and Nicki’s first time ever hitting the stage on some TV shit. It’s always dope being able to perform with your girlfriend and get money with your girlfriend.”
Watch Meek and Nicki perform at the 2015 BET Awards below.
(Photo: Rob Kim/Getty Images for WatchLOUD.com)