Meek Mill | still from video
Flash it back to 2008 when Meek Mill freestyled on WKDU’s Batcave Radio
12 years ago a young 21-year-old Meek Mill prepared to fulfill his dream to run the city like the great MCs before him: State Property, Major Figgas, and Cassidy. That journey, however, would come with obstacles. In January of 2007, Meek Mill was accused of drug dealing and gun possession, and the following summer was sentenced to 11 to 23 months in prison, followed by eight years of probation by Judge Genece Brinkley.
The next week he released the first part of the Flamers mixtape series and sparked a flame with his single “In My Bag.” On October 30th, 2008, Meek was released from prison early and the first thing he did wasn’t to go get his braids done. Instead, he went to the legendary Batcave Radio on WKDU and show Philadelphia that lyrically he was in his bag and was extremely hungry for success.
Twelve years ago today, WKDU listeners were blown away when they heard how focused Meek Mill was on that microphone. You could hear the cocky, aggressive, and bouncy Philly battle rap DVD flow in that freestyle and see how local MCs like Chic Raw and Vodka had an influence on him. The night, Philly heard creative wordplay that was used to describe the upbringing of a young bloodhound with lines like “When 13 had 14 grams of Ajax / Turn 15 started spitting 16s of straight crack / By 17, 18th st is where I played at / 19 niggas on the corner with 20s and they strapped.” Or “They gave my nigga 20 years, man that wasn’t even right / Got him the hell hole, living at the speed of light / Praying that the time fly by so he can see the light / See his kids see his wife, all over a key of white / Why they take that time from you cause you need it right? / And you can’t get it back so how they giving people life / Like you going live again, grow up be a kid again / That’s why I never waste time I cherish minute in.”
These bars showed that even as an adolescent, Meek was conscious enough to speak on how systemic racism affected him and his loved ones. However, when he said “I be probably in the Hills out in Cali / In a million-dollar crib eating on Shrimp and Broccoli / Watch me, Philadel flyer no hockey / Tell your chick to google me, she can dot com me,” that was Meek speaking his dreams into existence…and for the past 12 years we’ve watched him successfully bring them to life with his hustle.
Rap music has a way of being prophetic. What we as fans see on the outside as boasting braggadocious lyrics is most likely a rapper confidently speaking the things that he / she desires in the future. What makes the MC a prophet is his / her hustle, work ethic is what makes prophetic lines of poetry come to fruition. Hip-hop artists like Jay-Z and the late Nipsey Hussle are respected not only because they make music that many people can heavily relate to, but their fans and peers see how they made the goals they spoke about in their music come true. The same can be said about Philly’s hometown hero Meek Mill. Ever since he dropped the first Flamers mixtape in the summer of 2008 and got in the booth at Batcave Radio later on in the fall, everyone from South Philly to Uptown has watched a kid from North Philly chased his dreams to become the hip hop star that he is now.