Meek Mill stands as Philadelphia’s current Rap king. During a recent interview with New York radio station Hot 97, the Maybach Music Group artist discussed his favorite rapper from the City of Brotherly Love. “Beanie Sigel, I’d say,” Meek Meek says. “That’s the time I fell in love with Rap. Around that time Beanie Sigel first got on.”
Meek Mill says he was particularly fond of “The Best Of Beanie,” a 2006 mixtape put out by Cosmic Kev and Strictly Skillz Magazine. The 31 cut collection featured Sigel collaborations with Jay-Z, The Roots, Major Figgas and Memphis Bleek, among others. “That was the most fire mixtape in the city,” Meek Mill says. “I was a little kid. I heard my sister playin’ that and I learned the words to it. I used to spit some of the raps like they was mine in school and everything.”
When Hot 97’s Peter Rosenberg asked Meek Mill about Chill Moody, Meek Mill was effusive in his praise of the emerging Philly artist. “Chill Moody, he’s fire,” Meek Mill says. “He’s got a big buzz out here. He’s sellin’ out shows, everything out here. He next up.”
Philadelphia’s Rap roots run deep. In the mid-1980s, Schoolly D became the first gangster rapper and the first rapper to own his own record label, Schoolly-D Records. His 1985 “P.S.K. ‘What Does It Mean” single was reworked by The Notorious B.I.G. on “B.I.G. Interlude” and has been sampled by DJ Premier, Nice & Smooth and Case, among others. D.J. Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince emerged as a comedic, story-driven duo with such singles as “Girls Ain’t Nothing But Trouble” and “Parents Just Don’t Understand.” The Fresh Prince later went by his given name, Will Smith, and has emerged as one of the most accomplished actors in the world.
Steady B made his mark in the mid-1980s by dissing LL Cool J with “Take Your Radio,” working with KRS-One and launching the Hilltop Hustlers collective of artists, which also included Cool C and Three Times Dope. The Roots and Bahamadia were among the next wave of Philadelphia artists who set the stage for Beanie Sigel, Freeway and others.