Meek Mill on criminal justice reform, Kanye, new album

Having served his third prison sentence, Meek Mill has a new number-one album and a mission: to reform the criminal justice system.

Posted: Dec 2, 2018 11:04 PM
Updated: Dec 2, 2018 11:35 PM

Rapper Meek Mill says he and many other formerly incarcerated people are "trapped inside of a system that's extremely hard for us to get out (of)."

The hip-hop artist spoke candidly about prison reform and his own experiences with the criminal justice system in an interview Friday with CNN's Michael Smerconish.

"There's a lot of things in the system that clearly don't make sense," he said, adding that elements of the criminal justice system are often "targeted" towards marginalized people. "It's keeping many young black men caught up in the system without even committing crimes."

Meek also responded to criticism that his many run-ins with the law, including his 2008 gun charge, should disqualify him from leading a campaign for prison reform.

"I grew up in in America in a ruthless neighborhood where we were not protected by police," he said. "We grew up with people selling drugs in our neighborhood on our front steps. We grew up in ruthless environments. We grew up around murder."

The rapper then asked Smerconish, "If you grew up in my neighborhood, you see seven people die a week, I think you would probably carry a gun yourself?"

"Yeah, I probably would, yes," the CNN host responded.

Meek also reflected on his first arrest, for when he allegedly pointed a firearm at police officers when he was 18 years old.

"I'm not the only one that gets found guilty for these things. Cops charge people with these things at an alarming rate," said Meek, who maintains his innocence. "Pointing a gun at a police officer is suicide for a black young man. I never thought about committing suicide in my life."

Aside from prison reform, Meek said he doesn't really "keep up with politics," something that separates him from rapper Jay-Z, who appears on his new album, "Championships." Jay-Z, who has been outspoken about his political views, uses his verse on the song "What's Free" to comment on differences between him and Kanye West, who has openly supported President Trump.

While Meek said he doesn't consider Jay-Z's verse a jab at West, he said he finds West's views to be inconsistent with those of the hip-hop community as a whole.

"Kanye came out of nowhere and just went red hat, and that was kind of against everything we represent," he said, referencing the Trump campaign's signature red "Make America Great Again" cap that West has frequently worn. "We came up fighting, and fighting for our rights for a long time, and what that red hat represents don't really represent what we've been fighting for our whole lives."

Despite his criticism of West, Meek did praise President Trump's bipartisan effort for prison reform.

"I'm not a politician, but I feel like anything that a president does to fix laws and statues that don't make any sense and are unfair to American people is the right thing to do," he said.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 15229

Reported Deaths: 723
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds99925
Lauderdale73561
Madison72023
Scott65012
Neshoba63038
Jones59825
Forrest55338
DeSoto5337
Rankin4217
Leake42112
Holmes39728
Copiah3104
Jackson30513
Attala29216
Yazoo2734
Newton2714
Leflore25831
Harrison2577
Lincoln25628
Monroe25525
Lamar2355
Oktibbeha23512
Lowndes2119
Pearl River20931
Pike20211
Adams19615
Noxubee1856
Wayne1771
Warren1719
Washington1687
Covington1652
Bolivar16011
Jasper1574
Smith15011
Lee1496
Kemper14411
Clarke14318
Chickasaw13312
Lafayette1314
Coahoma1214
Carroll11711
Marion1159
Clay1124
Winston1121
Claiborne1112
Lawrence1021
Simpson1010
Yalobusha905
Hancock9011
Tate891
Grenada893
Wilkinson889
Itawamba877
Union835
Marshall833
Montgomery831
Sunflower813
Jefferson Davis772
Tippah7311
Panola703
Webster691
Calhoun644
Humphreys607
Amite601
Walthall550
Tunica543
Prentiss523
Perry503
Choctaw432
Jefferson421
Tishomingo320
Pontotoc323
Stone300
Franklin282
Tallahatchie271
Quitman260
George251
Alcorn171
Benton150
Greene121
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 17359

Reported Deaths: 618
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2191115
Jefferson1780102
Montgomery163238
Tuscaloosa73814
Marshall6879
Franklin5457
Lee54033
Shelby50319
Tallapoosa42364
Butler40217
Chambers35325
Walker3442
Elmore3398
Madison3274
Baldwin2839
Dallas2603
Morgan2511
Etowah24811
DeKalb2433
Lowndes23812
Coffee2291
Sumter2206
Autauga2164
Houston2094
Bullock2034
Pike1980
Colbert1782
Russell1670
Marengo1636
Lauderdale1612
Hale1598
Calhoun1543
Choctaw1518
Barbour1501
Wilcox1447
Clarke1422
Cullman1260
Randolph1257
Marion12111
St. Clair1181
Pickens1114
Dale1100
Talladega1093
Chilton1001
Limestone940
Greene944
Winston880
Covington771
Jackson772
Crenshaw763
Macon754
Henry742
Bibb721
Washington686
Blount611
Escambia573
Lawrence480
Geneva400
Conecuh391
Coosa381
Monroe372
Perry370
Cherokee373
Clay272
Lamar230
Fayette150
Cleburne141
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
63° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 63°
Columbus
Clear
62° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 62°
Oxford
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 61°
Starkville
Clear
59° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 59°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather