Meek Mill Went From Making Thousands A Night To 19 Cents An Hour
It looks like Meek Mill is on his “best behavior,” as he seems to be gaining some pretty decent prison perks. According to a rep for the Pennsylvania State Correctional Institute - Chester, where Meek is currently serving his 2-4 year sentence, the rapper is a part of the general labor crew and working multiple prison jobs for 19 cents an hour. While this is a far cry from raking in thousands of dollars for an appearance, what’s most significant about Meek’s temporary career change is not the tremendous wage difference, but rather the requirements needed to gain one of these jobs.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections Inmate Handbook, all medically-cleared inmates are required to work a general labor job, similar to Meek Mill. However, gaining a preferred job (or multiple jobs in Meek’s case), is based on the inmate’s availability, willingness to work and complete tasks. In other words, for Mill to have more than one job, he must consistently show “good behavior.”
This assumption is backed by the prison rep who reportedly praised Meek’s demeanor, describing him as a “model inmate,” It is applause that contradicts the labels placed on Meek earlier this week. At his latest bail hearing, the Superior Court denied Meek’s request, calling him a “flight risk” and “danger to his community” (claims that can be argued as untrue when his jail activity and philanthropic acts are referenced).
His recent bail denial combined with the prison rep's comments only add to the popular feeling within hip-hop that Meek Mill is being unfairly treated. As an artist who has gained respect in both the genre and community, many view Meek’s recent incarceration as a by-product of the ancient, African-American aliment: mass-incarceration.
Long before the world met “Meek Mill,” Robert Rihmeek Williams was a 19-year-old who unfortunately got into legal trouble. This led to Meek Mill, now a 30-year-old man, fighting through probation stipulations that turn “mistaken youth” into “repeat offenders.” Hip-hop noticed this, and being a genre rooted in creating a fortune out of misfortunate, many rap artists have used their platform to highlight the injustices of the justice system. A trend Meek Mill's case is continuing.
Rap superstars like JAY-Z and former-friend turned former-enemy, Drake, have spoken about Meek's case and offered the rapper support. But it was his label-head and close friend, Rick Ross, that best vocalized the stance rap and its fans should take in regards to Meek. In his recent interview with Tim Westwood, Rozay urged listeners to use Meek’s situation to address the larger injustices that are considered to be possible catalysts. “What I want to continue to express is for everybody who is at home in the same struggle, let’s use Meek Mill’s attention to shed light on a problem that we know is bigger than Meek Mill,” Ross said around the 6:15-minute mark.
The emphasis Ross is trying to put on the “bigger problem” is something hip-hop has attempted to do since its conception. Yet, if Meek’s case is used as a projected example, then maybe the marginalized demographic of a genre comprised largely of marginalized artists, will see the improvements it has been habitually seeking.
Think of it this way: if the monster of mass-incarnation is ready to reduce a millionaire like Meek to cents, just imagine what it can do to his fans.