Story: Evan “Evo” Yates
Photography: Gray Hamner
Rappers who sing and singers who rap serve sufficient for a hit or two, but at times the monotony should be disrupted, and thankfully Maybach Music Group’s Meek Mill fills that gaping void in hip-hop. Robert Rahmeek Williams injects the long-overdue youthful exuberance the rap game has been so desperately yearning for, minus the gimmicky catchphrases and piggybacking fads, and the proof is in his popularity. Heralded as one of XXL magazine’s 2011 Freshman Class and MTV’s #7 Hottest MC in the game, along with a list of other accolades, Meek Mill has certainly carved his slice of the pie, and his momentum continues to grow. Hailing from Philly, Meek not only brings a certain ferocity to the mic, but his motor-vehicle interests parallel his gritty delivery. And although he grew up idolizing local ballers and their exotic whips, Meek’s true passion falls on two wheels—dirt bikes, to be exact.
RIDES: When it comes to riding out, people associate you most with the dirt bike culture instead of the whips. How did that come about?
MEEK MILL: Where I’m from, folks be ridin’ around on dirt bikes most of the spring and summer, and that’s a big thing in Philly. People just hit the streets and ride. Sometimes the cops may chase you. The only thing is don’t get caught, because you’ll get beat up and they’ll destroy your bike.
So in your videos, that’s you and not a stuntman poppin’ wheelies?
Nah, that’s me. I been ridin’ since I was like 12, through the mean streets of Philly. We don’t have trails out here, so we can’t learn on the trails. We have to learn on the street. I do all my own riding. When you see me in the video, that’s me riding, no stuntmen.
Did your love for two wheels transition into the whip game?
I started getting into whips once I started getting some money. The first car I got was a black ’96 Impala SS with the floor shifter. It was all blacked out; I blacked the lights all the way out, blacked the wheels out—all that. After that,
I got the Camaro SS, the Tahoe, the BMW and now the Ghost.
Do you get to drive the Ghost a lot or are you being chauffeured?
Nah, I do a lot of driving. I’m in the Ghost right now. I always drive the Ghost,
I don’t ride in it.
Is the Ghost your favorite whip?
Well, yeah, you know, that’s a $300K car. So that’s the one.
Growing up, what kind of cars caught your eye?
I used to see the cats come through with the 745s, ball players would come through with the Ferraris and stuff like that. You’d have A.I. [Allen Iverson] come through; he was the first one with the Phantom in Philly. That’s what really inspired me with the cars, seeing stuff like that.
We recently featured your labelmate and boss Ricky Rozay. Do y’all ever chop it up about the whips?
We definitely do that. Ross has a Ghost, a Drophead and a bunch of other stuff. So I might tell him that I’m thinking about getting this or that, and he might say, “That’s a good look”—different shit like that.
Are you more about the cars or the dirt bikes?
I definitely want to be known for the dirt bike—bike life. I feel like I’m the one that’s gonna bring it back to life, back to the youth. A lot of times, people don’t see it in the inner city. A lot of these kids on the bikes could be professionals if they had that chance to hit the track. Like, I got this kid named Li’l Chino from Baltimore, he’s 15 and he’s a monster. I wanna try and transfer him, as my first project, from the street to the track. I’m trying to get this reality show going that would cover the whole process.
Musically, what other projects do you have on the horizon?
I just dropped another mixtape, and I’m working on my album; not sure of the date yet. The Dream Chasers mixtapes are doing well in the streets—that’s like an album out here. In late 2012, we’re going to drop Dreams & Nightmares to give you both sides of the story: the dream life and the hood life.