Jay-Z Performs & Criticizes The Sentencing Of Local Rapper Meek


The Notebook is one of 15 news organizations in the Philadelphia Reentry Reporting Collaborative, a solutions-oriented focus on the issues facing formerly incarcerated Philadelphians. The aim is to produce journalism – across the city and across media platforms – that speaks to the challenges of reentry and what can be done about them.

Since being sentenced to two-to-four years in state prison for violating his probation, Meek Mill has become the face of prison reform in Philadelphia and has received support from some of the biggest names in entertainment, including the the king of hip-hop, Jay-Z.

On Friday night the 48-year-old rapper brought his tour to the Wells Fargo Center where he performed songs from his Grammy-nominated album, 4:44. In between songs, Jay-Z addressed the incarceration of Mill, who is signed to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation management company.

Jay-Z has been an outspoken advocate for criminal justice reform and hasn’t shied away from decrying the harsh sentencing.

“When you see a young man and he’s been on probation 11 f—in’ years since he was 19 years old, that man is being stalked by the system,” the rapper said. “This man is in jail for doing a wheelie and breaking up a fight. Free Meek Mill.”

The 30-year-old Mill has been on probation since 2009 stemming from a 2008 gun and drug case for which he served an eight-month sentence. Mill’s probation was originally for five years, but violations, mostly for breaking travel restrictions, added more time.

Mill, who is signed to Jay-Z’s management company, is serving two-to-four years in state prison for a probation violation. The sentence has become a rallying cry for criminal justice reform.

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