Jay Z Calls Meek Mill’s Prison Time ‘Unjust’ As Rappers Reject ‘Heavy Handed’ Sentencing

Updated | Despite his successful career, trouble followed rapper Meek Mill every step of the way. And on Monday, a judge came down hard on Mill’s previous transgressions, giving the rapper a two-to-four-year prison sentence for violating the probation terms of his 2008 drug charge.

What came after the judge’s ruling was immediate outrage from the rap community, with a number of artists and fans calling the sentence unjust and unfair. They cited the racial disparities of the justice system.

One artist who was particularly vocal about Mill’s prison sentence was Jay Z. In a Facebook post on Monday, the music mogul called out the justice system for its unfair treatment of another black man.

“The sentence handed down by the Judge – against the recommendation of the Assistant District Attorney and Probation Officer – is unjust and heavy handed. We will always stand by and support Meek Mill, both as he attempts to right this wrongful sentence and then in returning to his musical career,” Jay Z wrote.

In recent years, the 4:44 rapper has become an even louder advocate against the disparities suffered by black men in the American justice system. In 2017, Jay Z produced a documentary chronicling the undeserved plight of Kalief Browder, a 16-year-old from the Bronx who wrongfully spent three years on Rikers Island. He was never convicted of a crime.

In an Instagram post on Monday, Mill wrote how he used to have crime-free dreams when he was a child, until he realized the limited opportunities his upbringing in impoverished South Philadelphia allotted him.

T.I. and Rick Ross are also among a number of rappers and fans who lent their support to Mill. 

A judge delivered Mill's sentence on the basis of reckless driving and assault charges earlier in the year. All the charges were dropped in court.

Mill was 18 the first time he was arrested. In 2008, he was convicted on those charges and spent nearly a year in prison. He was released in 2009 with a five-year probation agreement.

Mill, whose real name is Robert Rihmeek Williams, returned to his main grind—rapping. The youngster had already started to gain a following in Philly’s underground rap scene, and after serving his bid he went on to release another mixtape, Flamers 3: The Wait Is Over, in 2010, under rapper T.I.’s label, Grand Hustle.

He never managed to release an album under the label due to T.I.’s legal troubles. But soon after he left Grand Hustle in 2010, Mill was finally thrust into the spotlight when he was picked up by Ross’s label, Maybach Music Group, releasing a series of highly regarded mixtapes: Dreamchasers and Dreamchasers 2, in 2011, and his first studio album, Dreams and Nightmares, in 2012.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled the name of Maybach Music Group. 

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