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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: 268672

Reported Deaths: 5917
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17928195
Hinds17030337
Harrison14510212
Rankin11315223
Jackson11054193
Lee9109147
Madison8663171
Jones6853120
Forrest6260125
Lauderdale6161196
Lowndes5582123
Lafayette5269101
Lamar508765
Washington4965125
Bolivar4164110
Oktibbeha411585
Panola389881
Pontotoc380460
Monroe3727111
Warren3716103
Marshall360172
Union360165
Pearl River3527106
Neshoba3516158
Leflore3132110
Lincoln308389
Hancock300963
Sunflower294277
Tate281862
Alcorn274055
Pike272984
Itawamba271263
Scott264055
Yazoo258456
Prentiss255454
Coahoma252455
Copiah251549
Tippah251551
Simpson244872
Leake238967
Marion228274
Covington224873
Grenada224673
Wayne216336
Adams216271
Winston208271
George206440
Newton201447
Attala197465
Tishomingo196361
Chickasaw190245
Jasper183138
Holmes172568
Clay168637
Tallahatchie158035
Stone153625
Clarke148762
Calhoun142022
Smith131926
Yalobusha124935
Walthall115438
Greene114929
Noxubee114526
Montgomery112936
Lawrence107917
Carroll106922
Perry105931
Amite102727
Webster98024
Claiborne90125
Tunica89621
Jefferson Davis89330
Benton86923
Humphreys85625
Kemper81220
Quitman7169
Franklin71017
Choctaw64013
Wilkinson60125
Jefferson57321
Sharkey45717
Issaquena1616
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 445909

Reported Deaths: 6896
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson651891049
Mobile32138590
Madison28596223
Tuscaloosa21703276
Montgomery20220336
Shelby19584138
Baldwin17496216
Lee13378109
Morgan12741145
Etowah12196189
Calhoun11626228
Marshall10513126
Houston9097168
Limestone842481
Cullman8363125
Elmore8283112
Lauderdale7986112
DeKalb7935112
St. Clair7915139
Talladega6552112
Walker6068184
Jackson605649
Colbert560194
Blount551794
Autauga544065
Coffee470569
Dale415186
Franklin378150
Russell362816
Chilton348079
Covington344681
Escambia342244
Tallapoosa3184109
Dallas314197
Chambers308575
Clarke307339
Pike267735
Lawrence256958
Marion255763
Winston235243
Bibb224751
Geneva214747
Marengo212031
Pickens201831
Barbour188240
Hale187444
Fayette181230
Butler175960
Cherokee167433
Henry161325
Monroe153521
Randolph148236
Washington144027
Clay131050
Crenshaw126245
Macon124337
Cleburne123627
Lamar121324
Lowndes117636
Wilcox109422
Bullock105829
Perry100518
Conecuh98222
Sumter90828
Greene78323
Coosa64619
Choctaw52224
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