The trust and mutual respect between Elliott Wilson and Meek Mill is undeniable, as the two are certainly no strangers. On Sunday night (Dec. 2), Playstation Theater in NYC was a packed house. Meek Mill supporters hailed from all over to witness Wilson and Meek Mill came together for Tidal’s CRWN interview series for the second time, the first one being back in 2015.
Wilson has worked with the Philly rapper on numerous occasions, dating back to Meek’s early days at MMG, and has been able to witness his growth and maturation closely. “I’ve interviewed this man so many times on his journey,” Wilson says. “It’s amazing to see how he’s continued to fight this adversity and continue to deliver great music.”
“When you put out an album and name it Championships, you better deliver,” said Wilson before bringing out the man of the hour, who is riding the fresh wave of his newest album release.
“And he delivered,” fans in the crowd immediately chanted back. Finally, out came Meek Mill, sporting a luxurious fur coat and looking more calm and collected than ever before, exuding the aura of a man on a mission with the confidence to match. This attitude likely comes as a result of powering through a year filled with a fight for his freedom, and yet coming out stronger than ever in terms of both his craft and purpose.
Here are five things we learned from Meek Mill’s CRWN interview, which is available in full on Tidal now.
Reading Fan Mail While In Jail Was Huge Motivation for the Album
While locked up, Meek Mill had to adhere to a strict schedule every day. An important part of his nightly routine included sitting down and reading all the letters that supporters from around the country sent him, and this wound up being a huge source of fuel for his upcoming raps.
“I read every piece of mail that I ever got,” reveals Meek. “It was a part of my daily schedule, every night at 9:00PM. I’d read all my mail and it kind of inspired my album. In a lot of my mail, people would be like, ‘When you went through this situation and I saw you overcome that, I was in college and I was about to quit college but I saw you overcome that. Things you said in your songs helped me and I overcame it.’”
Because of this, Meek felt a surge of inspiration to write because he was reminded how many people are continuously touched by his journey. “When I rap and make a project, I have to really inspire people because most of this mail is saying I’m inspiring people,” he says.
JAY-Z Accidentally Played “Back to Back” While Having Dinner With Meek
Midway through the interview, Meek hilariously recalled what happened the first time he went on a double date with ex-girlfriend, Nicki Minaj, JAY-Z and Beyonce. “Hov got the playlist, he’s clicking through shit, ‘Back To Back’ comes on by mistake,” Meek shares. However, between the collective laughter in the theater, including all smiles from Meek himself, it’s clear the Drake and Meek Mill rap beef hatchet has genuinely been buried.
“I don’t even know if they remember that, but shit, I remember that,” he says. Meek also confirmed he and Drake have been able to joke about the situation since reconnecting about a year ago. The two have been working to rebuild their relationship before it was time to collaborate again. “I’m not with the fake shit and act like I’m cool with you just to do a record. I want you to know it’s not that,” says Meek.
Meek Prefers to use Big Platforms to Perform “Real Shit” Instead of His Hits
For his recent appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, many may have predicted Meek would choose to perform his successful current radio hit, the Pnb Rock and Jeremih-assisted “Dangerous,” which is steadily climbing up the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Instead he chose to perform “Oodles o’ Noodles Babies,” a more raw and unfiltered “street record” which he considers as one of the “realest verses on the whole album.”
“I was like, ‘Let me spit some real shit on Jimmy Fallon like Oodles o’ Noodles Babies,’” says Meek. “I want to use big platforms to speak on shit that comes from my culture. A radio single ain’t really the ground of the culture, and I be wanting to come from the bottom and really express myself. That’s why when I did BET, I had a choice to do a hit song, but I did “Stay Woke.”
Even 7-Year-Old Meek Mill Already Knew He Was Destined for Greatness
Before wrapping up, Elliott Wilson fielded questions from the crowd, with on of the the final questions coming from a fan who asked: “When did you realize you had a bigger purpose in life?”
It turns out, Meek always knew he was extraordinary. “I realized I had a bigger purpose in life as soon as I turned 7. I was like, ‘I’m not being normal. I’m not a normal person.’ That comes with self-confidence. Everybody in here, no matter who you are or what you have against you, you should always feel like you’re special.”
Meek Stands Firmly Behind the Use of So Many Samples On Championships
Wilson brought up how a main critique of the album so far has been the use of many samples, and Meek had a swift answer. “That’s the music I represent,” he asserts. “I represent the early 2000s and ’90s. This is the shit that inspired me coming up my whole rap career.”
Meek also sees using iconic samples as a way to challenge himself because of the expectations that come attached with records. On “What’s Free,” a stand out track from Championships that boasts features from JAY-Z and Rick Ross, the three spit over a classic sample: “What’s Beef?” by The Notorious B.I.G. “We’re rapping over a Biggie beat. It’s more challenging when you’re rapping over something that’s already legendary.”