Meek Mill is focused.

A five-month stint in prison delayed his second studio album, Dreams Worth More Than Money, but the Maybach Music Group rapper has a new outlook on life, and claims to be hungrier than ever.

This month, Meek landed on the cover of XXL’s spring 2015 issue alongside Rick Ross. XXL’s Editor-in-Chief, Vanessa Satten, penned the cover story, in which Meek details his experience at Philadelphia’s Hoffman Hall, his “different” sound, and wanting to get money like Jay Z and Puff Daddy.

“Being that I went to jail and came back, I went through a whole new experience in life,” Meek explains. “I went from being at the top to back down at the bottom again. In jail, you get stripped of your freedom and everything, so I experienced different things, learned more. It basically brought most of my hunger back, because I was living the life, having fun all day every day. I really didn’t know what it was like to be hungry no more. I still had it, but not where jail put me at. And before I went to jail, I was being a little wild. So you know, it slowed me down, gave me enough time to think.”

While in prison, Meek says he was isolated from the general population for part of his bid. For about a month and a half, Meek recalls being by himself for 23 hours a day, at times. 

“They had me set up like a celebrity,” he says. “[Nobody] could come around me for like a month and a half. Nobody could talk to me. That damaged me kind’ve, a little bit. When I came home I wasn’t like really, all the way together ’cause not being around people that long, in a room by yourself.”

Several of his peers, such as Baby, Jeezy, Rick Ross, and Nicki Minaj would call Meek “once in a while” to give him a report of what was going on in Hip Hop.

“I probably wrote like one rap,” he says. “I was stressed out… I ain’t drop an album since I was 25. I rap way better. I’ve experienced way more. I just came from jail. I made sure I read a whole lot, smartened up and learned more.

“I’m just next level Meek Mill.”

“Next level Meek Mill” doesn’t sound like anyone else. The Philly-native emphasized to the Hip Hop publication that he’s straying away from the sound his peers have carved out for themselves.

“I sound like me, but just on another level,” Meek responds to a question regarding his feelings towards his second album. “I ain’t come in trying to do the Drake melody or the Kendrick [Lamar] lyrics or J. Cole… Nah, I sound like Meek Mill. That energy of Meek Mill, just on another level. I’ve been in it for four years, came out in 2012. I was 24, maybe going on 25. It’s different now, everything’s different about me.”

For more Meek Mill coverage, watch the following DX Daily:

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