Cutting straight to the chase, numerous rappers have been imprisoned for various reasons – this is an indisputable fact. Often, a prison stint for a rapper affects their career – a no-brainer given the fact there are no tours, no shows, and no face-to-face promotion in prison. For Meek Mill, the news the MC will be imprisoned three to six months is a huge hit to the Philly MC’s career.
Other rappers’ careers have been able to survive jail-time, but not without some drop-off. T.I. is a perfect example. No Mercy (2010) was released during an extended prison sentence. The album debuted respectably with 159,000 copies sold, but fell short of the high watermarks of previous blockbusters King (2006, 522,000 copies), T.I. vs. T.I.P. (2007, 468,000 copies) or Paper Trail (2008, 568,000 copies) . Still, No Mercy wasn’t the bomb that it could’ve been.
Some rappers careers did not survive prison. Lil Kim’s The Naked Truth was proclaimed to be a ‘classic’ by some critics, notably urban music magazines, though the people didn’t seem to care. The fans didn’t come out as The Naked Truth, despite a respectable debut (#6, 109,000 copies), bombed.
So the question is, can Meek Mill survive the setback of prison? Well, it’s kind of a precarious position for an MC who is still relatively young in the game. T.I. and Lil Kim, the two previously mentioned examples of imprisoned rappers, were both well established. Mill’s 2012 debut, Dreams and Nightmares sold well it’s first week (165,000 copies), but didn’t end up being a blockbuster ultimately. According to billboard, Dreams and Nightmares only sold 406,000 copies total, shy of gold certification.
All said and done, Meek Mill seems likely to suffer lower sales and a potential bomb given his prison sentence. Meek Mill truly needed to go as ‘hard’ with the promotion of upcoming album Dreams Worth More Than Money as he does with his flow. Although numerous rap albums have experienced solid first week sales (Rick Ross and Schoolboy Q leading the charge), depreciation in sales has been tremendous. For an MC as fiery and electrifying as Meek Mill has the potential to be, potentially striking out on his sophomore album could sink his career before it has really taken off.