Robert Rihmeek Williams (born May 6, 1987), known professionally as Meek Mill, is an American rapper. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he embarked on his music career as a battle rapper, and later formed a short-lived rap group, The Bloodhoundz. In 2008, Atlanta-based rapper T.I. signed Meek Mill to his first record deal. In February 2011, after leaving Grand Hustle Records, Mill signed with Miami-based rapper Rick Ross's Maybach Music Group (MMG). Mill's debut album, Dreams and Nightmares, was released in 2012 under MMG and Warner Bros. Records. The album, preceded by the lead single "Amen" (featuring Drake), peaked at number two on the U.S. Billboard 200.
In October 2012, Mill announced the launch of his own label imprint, Dream Chasers Records, named after his mixtape series. Meek Mill often collaborates with MMG label-mates; he has made notable appearances on MMG's Self Made compilation series, with his first two singles, "Tupac Back" (featuring Rick Ross) and "Ima Boss" (featuring Rick Ross), being included on volume one. He released his second album, Dreams Worth More Than Money, in 2015 and his third album, Wins & Losses, in 2016. His fourth studio album, Championships, was released in November 2018 and debuted at the top of the Billboard 200 chart. Its lead single, "Going Bad" (featuring Drake), peaked at number six on the Billboard Hot 100, marking Mill's highest charting single to date. Meek's fifth album, Expensive Pain, was released on October 1, 2021.
In November 2017, he was sentenced to two to four years in prison for violating parole, before being released while his trial continues after serving five months. In August 2019, a documentary series about his battle with the criminal justice system, Free Meek, was released on Amazon Prime Video. Mill served as executive producer on the series alongside fellow rapper Jay-Z. The two also became the co-founders of nonprofit organization Reform Alliance, which focuses on justice, parole, and probation reform.
Robert Rihmeek Williams was born on May 6, 1987, in South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Kathy Williams. He has an older sister, Nasheema Williams. Kathy grew up in poverty and her mother died when she was young. Meek's father was killed when Meek was five years old, apparently during an attempted robbery. His uncle, Robert, described Meek Mill's father as a "black sheep of the family". After her husband's death, Kathy moved with Meek and his sister to North Philadelphia, where they lived in a three-bedroom apartment on Berks Street. Their financial condition was poor and she started cutting hair, doing other jobs, and shoplifting in order to support her family. At home, Meek was shy and rarely spoke. As a kid, he became acquainted with another of his father's brothers, who under the MC name Grandmaster Nell was a pioneering disc jockey (DJ) in the late-1980s Philadelphia hip-hop scene and influenced rap artists Will Smith and DJ Jazzy Jeff. Meek's interest in hip-hop grew as a result of these early influences. He was also influenced by the independent hip-hop artists Chic Raw and Vodka, whom he learned to emulate by watching their DVDs.
During his early teenage years, Meek often took part in rap battles under the pseudonym Meek Millz. He often stayed up well past midnight filling notebooks with phrases and verses that he later drew on. Later he and three friends formed the rap group The Bloodhoundz. They bought blank CDs and jewel cases at Kinkos, encouraging friends to burn them with the group's songs and distribute them.
2003–2010: Career beginnings
The Bloodhoundz lasted long enough to release four mixtapes. In 2008, Mill released his fourth solo mixtape, Flamers 2: Hottest in tha City, which spawned the promotional singles "I'm So Fly," "Prolli," and "Hottest in the City." Flamers 2 caught the attention of Charles "Charlie Mack" Alston, founder and president of 215 Aphillyated Records. Mack, who previously represented for other Philadelphians Will Smith, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Boyz II Men and Ms. Jade, was so impressed with Mill that he immediately signed him to his management company. During that same year, Meek Mill also met the founder and owner of Grand Hustle Records, Atlanta-based rapper and record executive T.I. T.I. was also impressed by Mill and offered him an opportunity to travel, to meet with him and Warner Bros. Records; within a week both record companies offered him a deal. Although he was offered other record deals, Mill felt collaborating with T.I. was "an opportunity of a lifetime" and thus chose his label. However, a setback occurred, when Mill was sentenced to a stint in jail for a drug and gun charge.
After being released in 2009, he continued working as an artist under Grand Hustle, Mill formed a work relationship with the label's resident disc jockey, DJ Drama. Mill and Drama teamed up to release the third edition of Mill's Flamers series. The mixtape, titled Flamers 3: The Wait Is Over, was released on March 12, 2010, and is helmed as a "Gangsta Grillz mixtape". The mixtape features his promotional single "Rosé Red", which was later remixed with additional verses from fellow American rappers T.I., Rick Ross and Vado. Rick Ross contributed his verse after he was visiting Philadelphia and asked his Twitter followers who he should collaborate with; Meek Mill was the overwhelming response. The remix was included on Mill's following mixtape, Mr. Philadelphia. Due to Mill and T.I.'s respective legal troubles, Mill was never able to release an official album under Grand Hustle and they parted ways in 2010. That same year, a film was released called Streets. A direct-to-DVD crime drama, starring Mill, produced by Alston and directed by Jamal Hill.
2011–2012: Dreams & Nightmares
In February 2011, Rick Ross announced the signing of Mill along with fellow American rapper Wale to his Maybach Music Group (MMG) label. In March 2011, Mill was included in XXL's "Freshman Class of 2011". Later that year, he released his debut single, "Tupac Back", featuring Rick Ross, from his label's compilation album Self Made Vol. 1 (2011). That same year he released his second single, "Ima Boss", also take from the compilation and featuring Ross. The song was later remixed, featuring T.I., Birdman, Lil Wayne, DJ Khaled, Swizz Beatz and Rick Ross. The remix charted on the Billboard Hot 100 and peaked at No. 51, becoming Mill's most successful single at that time. In August 2011, Mill released Dreamchasers, a well received mixtape featuring his urban hit "House Party" and guest appearances from Rick Ross, Yo Gotti and Beanie Sigel among others.
In February 2012, MTV listed Meek Mill as the "#7 hottest MC" in their annual "Hottest MCs in the Game" list. On May 7, 2012, Mill released the second installment to his Dreamchasers series. Within six hours of its release on mixtape website DatPiff.com, Dreamchasers 2 was downloaded 1.5 million times. On May 10, it was announced Meek Mill signed with Roc Nation management.
On June 19, 2012, "Amen" - originally included on Dreamchasers 2, was released as the lead single from Mill's debut studio album. Before releasing his debut studio album Dreams & Nightmares, Mill received co-signs from both Mariah Carey and Nas, with him appearing on Carey's 2012 single "Triumphant (Get 'Em)" and the latter stating, "I got my eyes on him. He's the next one to take this shit over." The album was released on October 30, 2012. The album debuted at number two on the US Billboard 200 chart with first-week sales of 165,000 copies. In its second week, the album sold 41,000 more copies, dropping six spots on the chart to number eight.
2013–2017: Dreams Worth More Than Money, DC4 and Wins & Losses
Main articles: Dreams Worth More Than Money, DC4 (mixtape), and Wins & Losses
Mill released the third installment of the Dreamchasers series, Dreamchasers 3. The mixtape featured guest appearances from Rick Ross, Akon, Future, Waka Flocka Flame, Wale, Trina and Jadakiss among others. The mixtape was scheduled to be released on May 6, 2013. However, he had announced that it would be pushed back, eventually to be released on September 29, 2013. In November 2013, Mill announced thathe was half-way finished with his second studio album. On March 8, 2014, Mill announced that the album would be titled Dreams Worth More Than Money. Mill's album, Dreams Worth More Than Money, which was released on June 28, 2015, topped the Billboard 200 as of the issue dated July 18, 2015.
Meek Mill posted 6 videos on his Instagram previewing music for his mixtape, DC4. The mixtape was planned to have featured a remix of his enemy, Drake's song, "Back to Back", and a remix to Drake and Future's song, "I'm the Plug", but unfortunately, due to DC4 being released commercially, neither of these two remixes made the final cut. On January 16, 2016, Meek Mill dropped songs on his extended play, 4/4, with 4 tracks. On January 30, 2016, Meek Mill released another extended play title 4/4, Pt. 2.
Meek Mill released DC4 on October 28, 2016.
On July 21, 2017, Mill released his third studio album titled Wins & Losses.
2018–2021: Championships and Expensive Pain
Main articles: Championships (album) and Expensive Pain
On November 16, 2018, Mill announced his fourth album, Championships, which was released on November 30. The album received positive reviews from critics and debuted atop the US Billboard 200, selling 229,000 album-equivalent units in its first week (42,000 coming from pure sales).
In June 2020, Mill released his protest song "Otherside of America", amid the protests following the murder of George Floyd.
On November 20, 2020, Meek returned with a four-track EP, Quarantine Pack, which features rappers 42 Dugg, Vory, and Lil Durk, who also appears in the video for the track, "Pain Away". That same month, the film, Charm City Kings, was released exclusively on HBO Max. Originally scheduled for a May 2020 theatrical release by Sony Pictures, it was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and later acquired by HBO. The Angel Manuel Soto-directed and Will Smith-produced drama stars Mill and opposite Jahi Di'Allo Winston as street bikers who end up under a wave of crime in Baltimore. It received positive critical reviews. A month earlier, in October, Mill also claimed to have had plans to release an album before the end of the year. However, this did not occur, as his fifth studio album, Expensive Pain, was only released a year later, on October 1, 2021. It debuted at number three on the Billboard 200 after accumulating 95,000 equivalent units. Mill went on to state that Atlantic Records was responsible for the low sales of the album. He went as afar to state that the label wouldn't allow him to bring PnB Rock nor Roddy Ricch as artists to his Dream Chasers imprint, while also clarifying that Atlantic restricted him from releasing any more music for the following nine months and demanded his release alongside labelmates, fellow Philadelphian Lil Uzi Vert, and YoungBoy Never Broke Again.
On July 11, 2022, Mill confirmed that he had ended his management deal with Jay-Z's Roc Nation Entertainment, stating that although he and the company are no longer partners in the exact term, he and Jay remain on good terms. Despite his departure, the two still work on their prison reform venture, the REFORM Alliance.