Meek Mill – “Championships” & Advocating for Criminal Justice Reform | The Daily Show

-Welcome to the show.
-Thanks for having me. -Yo, man, it has been
quite a journey. -Yeah. I, like, I mean, for everybody
who’s been watching your life just in what feels
like the period of a year, you’ve gone from someone
who was in prison -looking at spending multiple
years behind bars -Yeah. to being number one
on the Billboard charts -and being free again.
-Yeah. Thank God. (cheering and applause) Are there mornings
where you wake up still fearing the idea
of going back to jail? Yeah, I wake up every day
fearing going back to jail. I’m on bail. Uh… I don’t know if anybody know
what that mean. If, uh… The Supreme Court
overturned my sentence -and, uh, gave me a bail
-Right. and gave me a chance
to actually refight the case. I’m originally on probation.
I was put on probation for a case
at, uh, the age of 18. Falsely accused, and…
You know, where I come from, like, the value of getting
arrested was just, like… The way we valued ourself, it was just, like,
a normal thing if a cop blamed someone,
you took a deal or you went to court
and you lost a case that… for something you didn’t do. And as I got older, I got around, like,
more powerful people and-and met people
around the world where people valued
theirself more. And one day
I just asked my friend, like, “Yo, you think I pointed
a gun at three or four cops?” He white. And I was like,
“You think I pointed a gun “at four or five cops
and got away with it without a single shot
being fired?” And he always used to say no,
but I don’t think he understood -what I was really saying
to him, so, you know. -Right. I used to say it
all the time, man. When I actually got sentenced
to the two to four years, it stemmed back from when
I actually was found guilty for a crime
that I did not commit. I don’t know if anybody watches,
like, social media, what happens to young black men
when you even flash a gun. You don’t even have to point
a gun at a police officer in America right now,
and, you know, sometimes them situations
turn out tragic. And, you know, uh… as-as life went on in my cell, you know,
I just told my friends, like, “Yo, let’s go look
at this case from the beginning. -Let’s go check into it.”
-Right. And we had investigators check
into this case top to bottom. Most of the people
that even arrested me, testified on me
were found guilty for lying, uh, of a criminal activity. And, actually, uh,
a bunch of people got let out through the-the investigation– investigating
these police officers. It’s interesting
that your-your case and your story became,
in many ways, what opened up a Pandora’s box. People talk about how America’s
criminal justice system -is broken.
-Yeah. But now it had a face. Meek Mill. Here he was. He was successful.
He was selling albums. He– You know,
he was– he was rich. -He was doing well. But…
-Yeah. even he became a victim
to the system. Do-do you think that now, without wanting it, you-you’ve now taken on
that mantle of being an advocate for criminal justice reform? Yeah, I kind of think
it was placed on my lap. It-it was–
Uh, the basis of it, like, people used to say, like,
“Uh, it’s not about him.” No, it’s not about me.
It’s actually about, uh, I got found guilty at 18
for a crime I didn’t do. I’m 31 years old. I never been back to prison
for crime ever again in my life. And I was sentenced
to a two- to four-year sentence at 31 years old -when I’m, uh, at a successful
stage in my life. -Right. So you got to imagine people
who grew up in bad environments who get put on probation
probably for petty things -and long-term probations, uh…
-Right. And a lot– a lot of people
don’t realize that, the probation, it basically
re-ups every single time. -Yeah. -So you’re-you’re
basically in this world where it’s like–
this is your probation but then something small
can happen. You can have an altercation
with the cops -where you didn’t do something
wrong but the cops– -Yeah. and now you go–
now it’s more and more and more. And you-you’re basically
permanently at-at risk of going back to prison. And in this album, I think
what-what’s really powerful is– -I mean, you-you’ve always made
music about your life. -Yeah. But Championships is honestly
one of the most gripping albums I’ve ever listened to,
because you talk -about what it’s like
to be behind bars. -Thank you. And it’s not funny.
It’s not cool. -No.
-It’s-it’s scary, man. -Yeah. -You-you talk
about hearing the screams -of people being raped
in prison. -Yeah. You talk about, you know, how prisoners are being treated
behind bars by the guards. And, in many ways, you remind people
that there are humans on the other side of the bars. -We-we always say “criminals,”
-Yeah. but-but there are humans
suffering through this. Like, does that stick with you
when you leave? Uh, yeah. It was just a big deal
when I, uh– I got sentenced
to a state sentence. And, you know, uh,
a lot of them kids in there were sentenced
to state sentence. They took deals because
they didn’t have lawyer money. -Right. -And, like, you know,
uh, they got a thing– a system called
public defenders. If you can’t afford
a private attorney, uh, the state will assist you
with a-a public defender. A public defender
would go over this case– uh, over your case probably
in four or five minutes and, you know,
take you in the courtroom. -Right, right, right. -Had to be
your life. So most of the times, uh, these kids are charged
with ten, 20 charges, where they’re facing
45 years, 30 years for things that they
most likely didn’t even do. Um, they end up taking deals for four or five years
or three years with a bunch of parole
or probation. And they’ll forever be scarred. You won’t be able to get a job. You won’t be able
to attend certain schools. Even me, myself, I tried
to move in certain areas, just having, uh,
an embarrassing record of a cop saying I pointed a gun
at, uh, uh, two police officers. Uh, certain areas
I couldn’t move in. One time my bank account
was closed because I had felonies
on my record, and I’m moving so forward
in my life. It just made me want
to stand up and speak for people who, uh, are caught up
in the system and maybe trying to move forward
in their lives, and… (applause and cheering) When you… Just, like, a lot of people…
Some people, uh… I heard people say like,
“He’s not the face. He shouldn’t be the face.”
I’m like, “Why?” I don’t want to be the face. I just want to help out and help
bring change to the world. Uh… -Which is amazing.
I think that’s amazing. -Yeah. -I-I like to rap, I like to
take care of my family. -Right. -(applause)
-Uh… Can I ask…
can I ask you a question? I mean, Meek Mill,
for a lot of people, you know, popped into their lives because
of a beef with Drake. -Yeah.
-Right? It was huge beef with Drake,
and there was back to back, -and this was all going on.
-Yeah. And then, Meek Mill gets
arrested, you go to prison. You come out, and then,
you squash the beef with Drake. And you guys genuinely
worked through it. Not even like a PR thing. -You worked through it
as human beings. -Yeah. Well, when you go to prison, does it feel like a rap beef
is just a waste of time? Uh, yeah, basically.
The prison is… I played Ping-Pong,
I played chess, uh… (Noah laughs) -Read some books.
-Right. Yeah, it was nothing that
I could really benefit from. I already had my path, uh,
where I was headed to. You know, I employ people,
I’m employed myself. -I do a lot of charity.
-Right. So, you know, I wasn’t really
getting into too many of the, uh, programs
they had going on. So, you know, I worked
on my Ping-Pong, learned how to play chess. Uh, chess taught me patience. Uh, no. Yeah, it was a waste of
time, I feel like, definitely. When you, uh… when you…
when you came out, you immediately went
into this world of advocating for the people
who spoke to you. -People wrote you letters.
-Yeah. Uh, you know,
fans who said to you, “Hey, you’ve inspired me, not
from prison, but just in life.” -Yeah. -“You’re inspired me
to get over obstacles.” And now you’re fighting
for America to change its ways. What would like to see changed -in America’s prison system?
-Uh… Uh, probation and parole should
have, uh, standards to it. Uh, me– I’ve been on probation
from 18 years old. I’m 31 years old. I haven’t been to jail since. If I decided to cross the bridge
to go to New Jersey without calling my probation
officer, with forgetting, I could actually go to prison. Or if I got pulled over
or got a traffic ticket, police contact is a violation. If I come in contact with
the police, and a judge decides that she don’t like the contact
that I came in with police… It doesn’t have
to involve a crime. It doesn’t have to…
You could be innocent. Like, I got sentenced
to two to four years for popping a wheelie. I got arrested in, uh, New York
for popping a wheelie, which, actually, they charged me
with an F1 felony. When I went to court,
the case was thrown out. I didn’t even get a traffic
ticket for popping a wheelie. -Right. -Uh, I still was sent
to jail for that. You know what I’m saying?
It just… Police contact on probation is, uh, really, uh,
jail time, basically. And for people that look like me and come from the environments
I come from, police contact happens
on a daily basis. Uh, me– I’ve probably been
searched by police -5,000 times in my life, you
know what I’m saying? -Right. And not speaking,
saying all cops are bad, but I just think
that’s a bad dynamic to put people like me in. Uh… bail reform– at one point
I was locked up with a guy whose bail was
a hundred dollars. He spent 28 months in prison. ‘Cause he couldn’t pay
a hundred dollars. ‘Cause he couldn’t
pay a hundred dollars. And that was taxpayers’ money. Like, we had to pay for this guy
to be in jail for 28 months, ’cause he lorded two times
in his life. Uh, he had a drug addiction. I don’t think that was
really the proper thing. Uh, me being in prison, and…
I know a lot of people hear about prison, they’re thinking,
like, it’s like the movies. No, it’s really like
a mental institution. A lot of people are, uh, addicts and went to prison
for probation violations ’cause they was addicted
to opioids, marijuana, cocaine, -Right.
-and they’re put in prisons. Uh… I think that them type of things
should be handled accordingly. I think people that’s… have
addictions should go to rehab. You shouldn’t go to a prison. -People…
-(applause) Uh… I don’t think, like, I don’t
think people really realize how deep it is. Like, I used to read
comments on, when I came home, on the Internet: “He broke
probation. Go to jail.” I’m like, “Yo, I wheely the
bike, I wheely the motorcycle.” I don’t know if any of y’all
got kids that have dirt bikes. I’m in love with dirt bikes.
That’s what I like to do. I wheely the dirt bike. I went from wheelying
a dirt bike to being just locked in a cell
23 hours a day with shackles on my ankle,
on my wrist, not able to be able
to contact my family, and going through
traumatizing things, and I’m just like, “Yo,
I’m not a threat to society.” And nobody that is
a threat to society should be placed
in these type of conditions, because everybody
don’t make it back from that. Like, I’m telling,
hearing men scream. He probably won’t never recover from what happened to him
in that prison. He probably was locked up for…
the smallest thing in the world. And it’s, like… in America, we make it like
it’s just a normal thing. Some people belong
to be in jail. We have dangerous people
and people who cause harm and don’t offer nothing
to society. And you also have the 30%,
40% who are here for technical violations
and violations and not committing crime,
and people who took plea deals ’cause they couldn’t afford
lawyers and things like that. So, you know, there’s
so many layers to it. Me, I’m here in…
on shows like this to really deliver my experience
of what I went through. You know what I’m saying?
Because America can view me as a normal person–
they know I have a job, they know I’m
not committing crime. And I’m delivering my message
just to the world, so we can start
on a path of change. Can I tell you, that’s something
I found interesting is, -you have an album out,
-Yeah. and I’ve watched you go
on multiple shows, and you don’t seem to need
to speak about the album. -You don’t… you don’t push it,
you don’t… -Yeah. I mean, and it’s
an amazing album. -It’s at number one.
-Yeah, I feel like I’m hot. -I think I’m hot…
-(laughter) -(applause) -No, I mean,
I mean it’s amazing to see. It’s amazing to see,
because, I mean, many people would say,
“Hey, I mean, “there’s this criminal justice
thing, but at the same time I got to make my money,”
but you-you’re out there, and… this… it’s re…
it really is something that’s close to your heart,
and I, honestly, I admire that about you as a human being,
because it-it’s bigger than money, it’s bigger than
anything else that you’re doing, but at the same time, people
are still buying the music -and they’re buying the album.
-Yeah, I think they gonna get around to that,
you know? Uh… It’s, uh, it’s almost
nerve-racking coming on a TV show trying
to explain your innocence, trying to speak up
for voiceless people. I have so many people
that I was locked up with that are dedicated to me
speaking out, -or trying to even get a voice
for people -Right. to hear their cries
of their situation. So you always know,
you do a TV interview, it might be five, ten minutes,
15 minutes, sometimes even two,
three minutes, it’s nerve– it’s nerve-racking
to even try to think about
what I have to say and-and to compensate the people
who don’t have a voice or even promote my album. So, you know, I just try to
freestyle it. And most of the time we end up
talking about justice reform, so, you know, we’ll take it. I also want to to talk about
the album, though. -I want to talk about the music.
-Yeah. I want to talk about,
I want to talk about the state of mind
Meek Mill gets into when he gets back in the studio. Where do you find your joy? You know, you-you come
from this place where your freedom is taken away
from you, something that– the one thing that human beings
need more than anything, their freedom,
it’s taken away from you. -You are reminded of how thin
that thread is. -Yeah. But you still have to find
your joy, because the album is-is not,
it’s not only painful. -There’s-there’s bangers,
as you say. -Yeah. Yeah. People are dancing, you know?
There’s still fun. How do you– how–
Where do you find that joy? I never wrote a song in prison. I was so depressed
and stressed out. I couldn’t find the time
to actually sit down and make a rap, but I always
wanted to explain this like, on platforms like this. A lot of people hear rap music and sometimes you hear people
talk about violence, -drugs and things like that.
-Right. We actually grew up in these
environments our whole lives. I’m 31 years old. From the age of one year old to 22 years old, maybe,
until I got a record deal, I grew up in a ruthless
environment. A lot of people– some people
grew up in love, some people grew up in hate, I grew up in, like,
the hate-survival area, where we seen a lot of bad. So now, uh, I still know people, I have family members
who live in that. And, you know,
we speak on things, it’s like a social forecaster. And I just want to deliver
my message in a way where all America can view and-and see what we go through
coming from where I come from. And, uh, I think I’m a good
representative, ’cause I changed my life around, even growing up
in hate and survival mode. And I speak on a lot of things. Like, I talk about, uh, the
opioid addiction in my city, where, like, most young guys
do Percocet. And I talk about, uh,
guys getting caught up and being influenced
by other guys and going to jail
and losing their freedom by making bad decisions. And I also talk about
the fun side of my life, actually having money,
making money and living, ’cause sometimes
that inspires people, too. -Coming from where I come from,
-Right. Right. -we never had anything.
-You got to remember. The first person I seen
was Allen Iverson. He was the first
African American I seen, like, with a real nice car. And where I was at,
nobody really had nothing. And that inspired me
to be bigger in life, so, you know, if you see me
on Instagram or something and I’m flaunting it a little
bit, don’t take it personal. I’m just trying to inspire. (applause) Yo, man, I just want to say
thank you so much -for coming on the show. -All
right. Thanks for having me. -I like your show a lot, too,
man. -I appreciate everything that you do, man.
Thank you so much. Championships is available now.
It is fire. -Meek Mill, everybody.
-And justice reform, too.


  1. Iv'e always hated Meek Mill for no good reason bur hearing him speak made me respect the guy. listed to some of his singles today like 1942 flows its dope. Never judge a book by its cover.

  2. I hope young people here what he is saying, I believe nap was saying the same thing education is so important and powerful black young men listen to what he is saying!!🙏👍

  3. This is what America has always been for Black boys & Men don't forget about this boy YOUNG BOY EXECUTION

  4. It's really just not in America. Those are all issues that need to be resolve around the Globe Meek Mill. Issues dominantly against idealism. Black child you are alone. We will continue to fight.

  5. Trevor you were right about this American English, i could not understand but i get the message and what everyone is going through over there

  6. Very interesting interview and very interesting words 🙌🏽🙌🏽🎶🎶🎶❤️❤️❤️✊🏾🥰🥰

  7. Trump lawyers high profile got bought out not once but many times.. when they all know each other even the court appointed lawyers know and work out of same building.. they criminals the go in back rooms to do deals fuck the court appointed bitch .. she knew him the judge even said he wasn’t shit ..they say oh don’t say shit.. so u can’t defend yo self … robbed my kids in life and death I just know a line of trump lawyers they feel justice is green.. so I don’t care to put my hope in non of man that rape and robbing

  8. Many say the criminal justice system is broken. Depends on who you ask. I'm sure racist lowlife whites running the injustice system doesn't see anything wrong with it.

  9. I know where Meek Mill is coming from! In the past I was arrested and charged with 8 felonies. Fought each charge via jury trials and beat all eight felonies! It seemed like after I fought my first felony arrest and won, there was a bullseye on my back. I just kept fighting case after case. They couldn't handle a young Black Man who was more than intelligent enough NOT to plead guilty to any crimes I did not commit or take a plea deal. Biggest load of bullshit a Prosecuting Attorney would say to me, "We offering you a plea deal because if you take the case to trial and lose, you could face an even longer sentence." My reply each time, "No, not taking any deal." Plead not guilty each time and trial dates were set.

  10. Judges be tellin' that prison ain't made for dogs, buh honestly it ain't made for humans either. It's very cruel in there.

  11. Hey Trevor. This episode isn't just reliant to America… I was locked up in cape Town with rapists and murders. And the worst of the worst, ppl that were starving and stole bread. That can't afford R50 – R100 bail. The justice systems around the world are totally messed up.

  12. Trevor continues to do well interviews he let Meek speak freely and still asked questions without inrupting

  13. Trevor is so calm when he asks question not like your normal stupid American talk show hosts who beats around the bush to get shit outa you just to bad publicize you.

  14. Meek misunderstood ‘is rap beef a waste of time?’ for ‘is prison a waste of time?’ but Trevor, professional he is, segwayed nicely. Missed oppportunity for how pop culture is absolutely insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but a great interview nonetheless.

  15. 😂🤣😂 He didn't have any jobs when he was locked up in the City. And he stayed in his cell for 7 days straight.. 🤦🏾‍♂️🤣😂🤣😂

  16. Many a man is burn into a world they didn't invent. We try to adapt. Yet, others feel the need to test us. We survived this far… go away.

  17. Meek Mill is a true inspiration probably walking in his true purpose!!
    It's crazy how one small incident can propel us into greatness and
    Sometimes we have to go through some stuff to see the blessing on the other side!!
    Stay strong Meek!!!!! #ChallengesCreateChampions


  19. America is not a free state as they claim if what meek mill say is true.Am African forever will live here can't stand this bull $h!!t. The convict have no redemption in America even after finishing their sentence.

  20. Lets talk about African American men. 80% of children in the AA community are raised in fatherless homes. Until that changes these chidren remain at high risk for school drop out, drugs and crime. None of that is going to change until AA men step up to the plate and become fathers to their children. Can we please keep shit real in the 21st!

  21. I really hope, with the help and determination of hard-working, influential guys like Jay-Z and Meek Mill, we can achieve an overhaul of our criminal justice system. It's not just mandatory minimum sentences, it's cash bail, parole, and understaffed/underfunded public defenders. The system has been built from the ground up to put Black people away. It has segregated and then destroyed their communities, not by accident or chance.

  22. Meek:
    "i never wrote a song in prison. I was so depressed and stressed out…"


  23. Saw this again after the docuseries… Damn, I didn't get it the first time watching. Now it is totally different with the background info… Crazy shit, America… crazy shit…

  24. Meek. justice is still institutionalized rigged against one set of people light, brown, dark, and yes black people. If you sneeze its bent it such a way to fit the crime as a statistics it falls under to be a quota.

  25. I don't want to give the former Judge in his cases the Satisfaction in my Google feed. My question is Is she still a Judge?

  26. Thank you Meek, very you’re a good man God bless you! thank you for the work you’re doing to help people who desperately need a voice.

  27. Love meek mill but nigga still cant throw a punch lol but he good people he aint acting like he some tough ass gansta or anything just blessin people and staying humble

  28. May god bless his soul ..mumble rappers pay attention non talent ass lookin niggas lmao..he aint tryna be hard or cocky just respectful and humble

  29. from everything that I've been hearing about our fellas in the US, I can finally conclude that Africa is the only place where a black child can grow up freely from the system against himself
    I'm from South Africa and I feel like ive been underestimating the privilage ive got, and clearly i didnt think of the struggles that our fellas are facing all around the world

  30. He sounds like he had a PhD , my God !!!. He makes so much sense that I have decided to vote for him if he stands for election, goddamnit !!!. Who says he shouldn’t be the face of revolution ?.

  31. Amazing what happens when you find a purpose that entails not just living for yourself but for others and living for something more bigger than you…being a voice for the voiceless. Never knew he had substance like this and glad he was given this platform.

  32. I'm Kenyan … my country is not perfect.. in fact it has lots of flaws … but the criminal justice system in america? Is criminal. there is no justice in it. And the gun laws are effed up too… my country is young? just around 55 years of age? but im yet to hear a kid? walking into a school and shooting up half of the class… America might be strong and robust? but in that that is also where the weakness is.

  33. God gave us free will to do anything but people like the government taking away people freedom and will and wasting it in prison are real criminals they need to go prison not innocent people it's a fucking joke.

  34. And if you are arrested as a leader of anything you will be given poison that will slowly kill you. You can be injected or something can be put in your food or medication or when you go to a jail dentist. People who sold crack went to prison and now the opiod problem is white issue and they giving them treatment, not a lot of jail time.

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