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.

Cases: 319948

Reported Deaths: 7371
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto22285267
Hinds20719421
Harrison18431317
Rankin13901282
Jackson13718248
Madison10263224
Lee10059176
Jones8467167
Forrest7832153
Lauderdale7261242
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Lamar635188
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Washington5425137
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Warren4440121
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Hancock386987
Leflore3515125
Tate342486
Sunflower339491
Pike3371111
Alcorn327272
Scott320374
Yazoo314171
Adams308086
Itawamba305178
Copiah299966
Coahoma298784
Simpson298589
Tippah291968
Prentiss284161
Leake272074
Marion271280
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Wayne264642
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George252251
Newton248663
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Jasper222148
Attala215073
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Holmes190474
Stone188433
Clay187954
Tallahatchie180041
Clarke178980
Calhoun174132
Yalobusha167840
Smith164134
Walthall135347
Greene131834
Lawrence131124
Montgomery128643
Noxubee128034
Perry127238
Amite126242
Carroll122330
Webster115032
Jefferson Davis108234
Tunica108127
Claiborne103130
Benton102325
Humphreys97533
Kemper96629
Franklin85023
Quitman82216
Choctaw79118
Wilkinson69632
Jefferson66228
Sharkey50917
Issaquena1696
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 548657

Reported Deaths: 11306
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson810031566
Mobile42105831
Madison35690525
Tuscaloosa26173458
Shelby25607254
Montgomery25081614
Baldwin21868314
Lee16278176
Calhoun14719327
Morgan14629285
Etowah14175364
Marshall12453230
Houston10781287
Elmore10293214
Limestone10179157
St. Clair10162251
Cullman9952201
Lauderdale9603250
DeKalb8972190
Talladega8460184
Walker7338280
Autauga7241113
Blount6945139
Jackson6932113
Colbert6413140
Coffee5635127
Dale4928116
Russell454841
Chilton4476116
Franklin431382
Covington4275122
Tallapoosa4138155
Escambia401680
Chambers3728124
Dallas3607158
Clarke353061
Marion3240107
Pike314378
Lawrence3133100
Winston283472
Bibb268564
Geneva257981
Marengo250565
Pickens236962
Barbour234559
Hale227278
Butler224271
Fayette218862
Henry194543
Randolph187544
Cherokee187345
Monroe180041
Washington170539
Macon163051
Clay160059
Crenshaw155957
Cleburne153444
Lamar146837
Lowndes142254
Wilcox126930
Bullock124342
Conecuh113630
Coosa111729
Perry108626
Sumter105732
Greene93634
Choctaw62125
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