Back in 2011, Meek Mill was relatively unknown but his fate changed quickly when Rick Ross took him under his wings. Born May 6, 1987, Mill was first recognized as Robert Williams from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Both of his parents died when he was only 5 years old. His grandmother and uncle, Grandmaster Nell, took him under their care.
It was Nell, a Hip-Hop pioneer that inspired Mills to pursue a career in music. In his teens, Mill began by forming a rap group. "I was in a group, BloodHoundz, me and my little homies from around the way. But we all started getting locked up and everyone started going their different ways," he said of the short-lived group.
Mill venture out alone as underground rapper and his name traveled to industry veterans and talent seekers. Through his manager, Mill was briefly signed to T.I.'s label Grand Hustle Records. Unfortunately, the young rapper was locked behind bars and so was T.I., therefore the business did not translate.
And then fate played its role. "Running into Ross on the road or rocking shows with Ross, he might be the headliner and he would stand around and watch me rock a show. Ross was on twitter one time and he was like, 'Philly Wat Up'. I hit him up like, 'Yeah Ross, wat up? Why don't you get on this 'Rozay Red remix'," he told Parle magazine of his meeting with Ross.
Mill was officially signed to Ross' Maybach Music Group in February 2011. He released his debut single "Tupac Back" later that year with Ross as featured guest. The single appeared in the label's compilation album "Self Made Vol.1". But it was the remix of "Imma Boss" that really put Mill's name out there. It charted peaked at number 51 on Billboard Hot 100 and at number 20 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.
He released a mixtape in May 2012 as precursor of his debut album, "Dreams & Nightmares". In the same month, he signed with Roc Nation for management. "Amen" was then released as the first single from his album, featuring recording artists Drake and Jeremih. "Dreams & Nightmares" is released on August 28, 2012.
Following the release of his debut studio album, Mill was found to have violated his probation by scheduling performances to promote "Dreams & Nightmares". He was eventually prohibited from touring for a month, leading him to cancel concerts in Africa, the Caribbean and across the United States.
In the following year, Mill was again found to have violated his probation and was ordered to take etiquette classes by Brinkley. He was also ordered to notify his probation officer when he wanted to travel outside Pennsylvania and not to schedule any new concert between July 1 and August 11. But Mill ignored her order and was sentenced to three to six months in prison.
Living behind the bars didn't stop Mill from releasing new music. The third installment of his "Dreamchasers" series, "Dreamchasers 3", was released on September 29. He also announced that his sophomore album "Dreams Worth More Than Money" was half-way finished. Mill was released from jail on December 2 and was prohibited from resuming concerts until he completed a plan of treatment and community service.
"Dreams Worth More Than Money" was released on June 28, 2015 and debuted atop Billboard 200 chart. It marked his first No. 1 album on the chart. Mill didn't even have much time to celebrate his success as he was found guilty for a parole violation again on December 17. It made Brinkley refuse to give him another chance and ordered him not to work or perform before his sentencing.
Welcoming 2016, Mill released an EP titled "4/4" on January 16 before unveiling another EP titled "4/4 Pt. 2" on January 30. However, he didn't have much time to promote the EPs as he was sentenced to 90 days of house arrest on February 5 in addition to six more years of probation. His house arrest came to an end in mid-June 2016. After that, he released his mixtape "DC4" on October 28.
In the following year, Mill released his third studio album "Wins & Losses". Making its way out on July 21, the effort debuted at No. 3 on Billboard 200 and received generally positive reviews from music critics. It additionally was certified gold by RIAA.
On November 6, Mill was sentenced to two to four years in state prison for violating his parole. This upset many of his fans, leading them to rally outside the Criminal Justice Center Speakers days after his sentencing. "Stand With Meek Mill" ads then started appearing on billboards and newsstands. The ads were paid by Jay-Z's management company and Michael Rubin, a minority owner of the Philadelphia 76ers.
Mill was finally released from prison on April 24, 2018 after being granted bail. Hours after his release, Rubin took the rapper to a 76ers basketball game at Wells Fargo Center by helicopter. Mill immediately worked back on music after his release, unveiling an EP titled "Legends of the Summer" on July 6. It arrived at No. 9 on Billboard 200 chart.