The hip-hop world was stunned Monday when a Pennsylvania judge sentenced rapper Meek Mill to an unexpectedly harsh two to four years in prison for violating his probation. Common Pleas Court Judge Genece E. Brinkley cited a failed drug test and unapproved travel, stemming from a 2008 gun and drug case. He was immediately taken into custody.
The move led Jay-Z to make a rare Facebook post: “The sentence handed down by the Judge — against the recommendation of the Assistant District Attorney and Probation Officer — is unjust and heavy handed,” he wrote. “We will always stand by and support Meek Mill, both as he attempts to right this wrongful sentence and then in returning to his musical career.”
The sentence was unexpected as prosecutors recommended Mill not be imprisoned for the probation violations, mentioning he’s been drug-free since January and has complied with most requirements of probation. Mill’s lawyer, Brian McMonagle, has vowed to appeal the sentencing.
Mill — born Robert Rihmeek Williams — has been arrested twice this year. Mill was arrested in March at St. Louis International Airport and charged with misdemeanor assault after an altercation with two airport employees. In August, he was stopped for reckless endangerment while driving his motorcycle in New York City. Both cases were dropped after he agreed to fulfill community service requirements.
Brinkley has worked with Mill since nearly a decade ago, when the rapper was convicted and jailed for eight months and later placed on probation in 2008 for gun and drug charges. In 2016, he was placed under house arrest for 90 days after violating travel restrictions.