Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill, born Robert Williams, began releasing mixtapes in 2006, debuting with The Real Me. Within a few years, after the release of Flamerz 2, his output prompted offers from Warner Bros. and T.I.’s Atlantic-affiliated Grand Hustle. The MC opted to align with the latter label, but he never signed and spent some time in jail. Once free, he continued pushing mixtapes, including a fourth volume of the Flamerz series, and was included in XXL magazine’s Freshman Class feature for 2011. Through Twitter, Meek Mill caught the attention of Rick Ross, signed to the MC’s Maybach Music Group, and appeared on the label’s Self Made, Vol. 1 compilation prior to releasing his first proper studio album.
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