After dropping a medley of songs from his new album, Championships, in his first appearance of the night on Saturday Night Live, Meek Mill returned to the stage to perform a stripped-down, soulful rendition of the title track with his full band. The low-key performance allowed the lyrics, which describe the harrowing conditions of inner city life and decry the resulting legal issues that beset young, Black men and women in America, shine through.
Of course, few know the conditions that drive the system or the inside of the prisons better than Meek, who was arrested for allegedly pointing a gun at a police officer at 19 and has since spent the entirety of his adulthood either on probation or incarcerated. His experience led him to form a social justice organization aimed at reducing the prison population through reforming the probation and cash bail systems that lead to thousands being locked up for simply being too poor to afford release or keep up with the conditions of parole, which often include maintaining a job or mandatory visits with overseers.
While Meek wasn’t able to use the platform provided by SNL to directly address his efforts, his performance of “Championships” did foreground issues that many Americans remain unaware of, and as the saying goes, knowing is half the battle.
Meek Mill is a Warner Music artist. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.