Meek Mill has had a rough summer so far, having beefed with MMG labelmate Wale and sentenced to a few months in jail on July 11 due to a probation violation. Initially sentenced to three to six months behind bars, the rapper was placed in a tough spot, with his sophomore album, Dreams Worth More Than Money, set to drop Sept. 9. Meek has since attempted to combat the charges by requesting an emergency hearing in hopes for bail, an attempt that was rejected by a judge, with a further hearing not scheduled to take place until September.

Prior to Meek’s troubles, XXL got the chance to chat with the MMG rapper about his upcoming sophomore LP, the meaning behind the project and his budding Dream Chasers label. —Miranda Johnson


XXL: Why did you decide to go with the title Dreams Are Worth More Than Money for your second album?
Meek Mill: I wanted to go with the title because I just felt like when I first came into the game I was just hustling and trying to make a lot of money. And now since I got on and made some money, I feel like rapping was always my dream, really. So I just really wanna pursue that over really being about money now. When I first came out, my concern was mainly about getting my family off the streets, changing my way of living so I wouldn’t have to do the things I used to have to do. Now that I’ve changed all that, now it’s just about the sport all over again. I feel like I’m on the corner battling the cyphers [but] not for money, it's for the fun, it's for the competition.

I feel like if you have that mindset of, it's not about the money, it's about the art, that’s when you get an artist's best work.
Yeah, I think that’s for every artist, for anybody. When they're focusing on the music and having fun with the music, that’s when it’s always the best.

What would you say is the biggest change in your life since you got on?
The biggest change has been not taking, like...we from the ghetto, the streets, having nothing, you know, taking risks to make money and feed our family and try to get money. Gotta dodge cops all day, people tryna to harm you. Everything just changed totally to being somebody who’s about their business, working, putting their life into their dream. Just everything changed.

You're always giving back to Philly, whether it’s stopping by the scene of a fire or giving out turkeys at Thanksgiving. Do you feel that you see what’s going on in your city and want to help more?
I just feel like, if I’m in the position to help, I’m gonna help. You know what I’m saying? In my city, you know, rappers never really get credit for anything they do, but they do a lot for the community. And I don’t even try to take credit for it. But I don’t like when I come home and you got certain people sitting around talking about my probation, like they're downplaying me, like I’m doing something wrong. First of all, you know, I got a job. I came from being in the streets being a young kid doing wild things and stuff. I changed my life around. I take care of my whole family. I got a child, take care of my son, and I give back to the community every chance I get.

So when people try to downplay that and make you look a certain way, I just always try to just outdo them and make sure they know that I’m not who they're saying I am. I always did [things] not on camera, or call press and stuff like that, until I saw the that they were trying to make me look a certain way. [After that] I really put it in the press, 'cause I didn’t wanna make it seem like I was doing it for the look of it. I wanted to do it from the heart. I guess that’s the way life goes.


Let's talk more about the album. Are there any other features you have on the LP?
I ain’t actually finish my features yet, but I just wanna surprise 'em with a bunch of heat music, new sounds and just good music. Now I do all my features at the end, and right now it's kind of like the end, so I think it's around the time.

Speaking of new sounds, it seems like you’re trying to get Dream Chasers Records out there more. What’s going on with your label?
With the Dream Chasers label we got Guordan [Banks] up and going so far. I'ma name all the people up and going so far—Guordan up and going, he's an R&B artist. Paloma Ford, she’s up and going. Mike Davis, he’s up and going and we got Omelly, he’s up and going. I think everybody’s just in a good space, man, they up all over the web, they getting their little shows, moving around and grinding and doing their street work. I like everybody to come through the gate the same way I came through the gate and don’t miss one step on the grind. And I think everybody’s on the right path now, getting their own fan base and, you know, I’m just here to oversee and make sure I can help in any way I can.

Is that tough in any way? You guys lost Lil Snupe early on, which halted things a bit. Do you feel as though it's been a little tough starting the label?
No, I don’t think it’s been tough. But just from the Lil Snupe situation, I do wanna be like... It made me not wanna take on other people’s lives, really, because he was close to me and he got close to me fast, and that situation that occurred put a lot on my shoulders. And that just makes me not wanna get close and have to take on another artist’s life. It’s a big responsibility having people behind you, because everything, any situation that happens with them all falls on you, basically.


You're working Puma, you've got your headphones. What other ventures are you working on outside of music?
Outside of music we’re working on doing a movie. Of course 24K headphones, me and Monster partnered up and we designed a crazy headphone and it's getting kinda popular. Me and Puma, I’m working on my own sneaker with Puma that I designed myself. I think four pairs; I can design four or five pairs myself. We just gearing up.

What's the movie about?
The movie I didn’t fully agree to yet. I’m trying to read the script. Actually a bunch of us guys, me and a few other people [are] putting up a bunch of money to have a real budget and make it a great project. It's nothin' like... You know how people do a hood classic movie; we're trying to make a great project. You know me, I rap, I do a lot of storytelling. I’m able to give [my] vision just by putting words over a beat. So I thought I’d be able to help in coming together with a movie.

You just did the DJ Khaled song with Jay Z ["They Don't Love You No More"]. How was that? Did you guys work together with in the studio?
Naw. Naw. We didn’t work in the studio together. But you know, I put it together with Khaled, and Hov was feeling it, Rozay was feeling it and they just made the magic the way they make the magic.

You guys coming out with a collab soon?
Who dat? Me and Jay Z? Yeah, that should be great.

Previously: Diddy Is Behind Meek Mill’s New Album 100 Percent
Meek Mill Previews “Ambition” Off Dreams Worth More Than Money
Meek Mill Sentenced For Parole Violation
Judge Rejects Meek Mill’s Lawyer’s Request For Emergency Hearing