Written by: Chay Rodriguez
Robert “Meek Mill” Williams has come a long way. The rapper, activist, and businessman has cultivated a dream life from the nightmares he was dealt. This is even more apparent with the addition of his newest title: co-owner of sports apparel retailer Lids.
Becoming part of the owners group that includes Fanatics and the investment firm Ames Watson, Meek is making good on the tweets he put out into the world earlier this year.
Upon speaking with Business Insider about his latest investment Meek says:
“You know, this is my boss year. A lot of what I’m doing, I’m trying to get ownership in a lot of things to where I can still live comfortable the way I was living in my prime years as a rapper. I’m just trying to build a foundation of some good businesses that’ll keep me living good. And, Lids, I’ve been shopping at Lids my whole life, wearing hats, fitteds, of course, fitted hats and caps, all types of hats.”
Meek’s thought process is the result of a harsh reality for many entertainers: rappers and athletes in particular. Longevity in hip hop is not an art, it’s a science. It’s a precise science. What Meek did not get a chance to elaborate on the forced retirement that many rappers face.
We are told many times that hip hop is a young man’s game:
“You thirty-eight and you still rapping? Urgh I‘m 26 nigga, so is the dubs.“ – The Game to Jay Z
A common misconception about hip hop is that the culture constantly throws away its artists due to ageism. While logical, that is not exactly true. The evolution of hip hop is less at the hands of ageism in the sense of “prejudice or discrimination based on a person’s old age” and more at aging out of a “popular zone”.
There is an aging out process that occurs in hip hop when it comes to getting and staying commercially consumable or “hot”. It can happen after an artists’ last hit project or single and it can be more organic than one would think. As trends change and music evolves from lyrical to mumble, from boom bap to trap, or from Jay Z to Drake it takes a special something to not only stay relevant but to make the same kind of money that you made when you were getting radio shows and booking dates.
For Jay Z, his special somethings afforded him a few different streams of income. Rick ross dabbles in grooming products and wing stops, Fofty has taken up loan sharking, champagne, cognac, and addictive television series. For Meek, his special something is ownership in Lids. Still younger than the above mentioned we are sure he is plotting to diversify his portfolio and complete moves to garner him more money than his music alone could have ever afforded him.
From the outside looking in, it looks like we are going to experience a visible culture shift in Lids as a result of this new ownership. That starts with Meek dropping a limited-edition line of Lids hats in August, and continues with him leading the company’s creative strategy. Which means Lids is about to get BLentrified – and we are here for it!