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‘We Ain’t Really Had Dads’: Meek Mill Shares How Mentor Jay-Z Helps Shape the Man He Is Becoming

Philly bred rapper Meek Mill has long looked up to his mentor Jay-Z.

From his days as a rapping juvenile to an artist paving his own path in the music industry, Mill says Jay-Z has always served as an example of what could be.

NEW YORK, NY – JANUARY 23: Shawn ‘Jay-Z’ Carter and Meek Mill attend Criminal Justice Reform Organization Launch at Gerald W. Lynch Theater on January 23, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Shareif Ziyadat/Getty Images)

“I come up off ‘The Blueprint,’ ” he said of Jay-Z’s sixth studio album. “We come up from listening to the blueprint of real life. My stages of life growing up, we ain’t really had dads growing up in the streets, so music was important to us,” explained Mill to Rap Up.

Mill says he was just one of many in his neighborhood who rapped, but his drive is what set him apart from the others. But without guidance from a strong male figure — Mill’s father was fatally shot when he was five — Jay-Z has filled in some of those gaps. 

“We were young, we ain’t really know about the level of stuff Jay-Z was talking about, but when I got older, I got ‘The Blueprint’, I was rapping, I was making music,” he said. “So that was the beginning of me falling in love with how Jay move and how he handle business. I couldn’t really understand it, but once I got around Jay and see how he’s moving and how he handle business, this is my infrastructure that I follow.”

Mill is part of a management deal with Roc Nation, founded by Jay-Z. In 2019, Mill and the former Roc-A-Fella rapper teamed up to launch of Reform Alliance. The organization’s key aim is to restructure probation and parole laws. Mill had developed a checkered past with the legal system up until his release from jail in April 2018.

The “Dreams and Nightmares” emcee says his freedom was gained in part thanks to the billionaire status rapper. “Jay-Z is actually responsible for some of my legal fees, which I thought was the dopest in the world because it was some millions of dollars. I don’t even think I could have afforded it,” he told “The Breakfast Club 105.1 FM” during an interview a month after his release.

But his praises for the New York rapper are not solely based on the way he has impacted Mill’s life. Instead, Mill believes Jay-Z serves as a blueprint of sorts for youth coming up from rough neighborhoods who still have hope that their life be so much more than their current surroundings. 

“I think Jay, like, a really smart guy. I think he one of the best to ever do it, and not just say rappin’,” he told Gayle King during a 2019 appearance on “CBS This Morning.” “That’s the thing is that we idolize the things we dream of. And things that we always thought – I always thought that was not obtainable to become a billionaire from a guy who didn’t even step a foot in college, you know what I’m sayin’? And I think he’s breakin’ barriers for the ones that come even after me to shoot high.”

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