Reggae Music News

Meek Mill gets support from Kenny Gamble as he tries to avoid jail over parole issues

By Maryclaire Dale




PHILADELPHIA _ Music producer Kenny Gamble led off a string of witnesses pledging to support Meek Mill as the Philadelphia rapper fought Thursday to stay out of jail over his latest parole problems.

Gamble, who co-wrote a slew of 1970s R&B hits, said it would do no good to send the 28-year-old back to prison and instead suggested he work with Philadelphia youth.

“This man is not a criminal. Putting him in jail is not going to help at all,” said Gamble, who runs several local charter schools.

His words echoed those of Nicki Minaj, Mill’s girlfriend, who told the judge last week that she hoped to bring more structure to her beau’s life. Minaj, who said the couple live together when their schedules allow, was back in court Thursday.

Judge Genece Brinkley believes the performer born Robert Williams has been “thumbing his nose” as she closely supervised his probation since a 2009 conviction in a drug and gun case.

“This court has done nothing but try to help the defendant,” said Brinkley, who could send the rapper to jail for a few months, as she did last year over similar issues, or send him to a state prison for two years or more.

That would presumably stall his career following a year when the RocNation-signed talent has performed with Minaj, Jay-Z and other industry A-listers. He also recently released his second studio album, “Dreams Worth More than Money.”

Prosecutors have said Mill routinely fails to stick to his stated travel plans _ showing up at shows in New York, Miami or Los Angeles without permission _ and recently submitted cold water instead of urine during a drug test. Brinkley has said she is concerned about a prior problem with painkillers.

Defence witnesses blame the travel lapses on the chaos of the music industry.

“The unpredictability of shows is, unfortunately, part of the business,” testified Shawn Gee, who manages The Roots and helps manage Minaj’s career. “A large portion of his income probably comes from those one-off tours that are inherently unpredictable.”

Mill was expected to take the stand Thursday afternoon.

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