by Biba Adams (@BibatheDiva) Allhiphop.com
Big Meech was once the biggest cocaine kingpin in America. The United States government alleged in his notorious 2005 indictment that the Black Mafia Family (BMF) had generated over $270 million in drug sales. In fact, in addition to hisincarceration, Meech has been ordered to repay $270 million, virtually guaranteeing that he will never earn an income from his infamy.
He’s now incarcerated under a 23-hour lockdown. Unable to have phone calls or visits until early 2013. However, he does receive dozens of letters regularly. And he answers them.
When AllHipHop.com interviewed BMF founder, Big Meech’s ex-girlfriend, Sabrina Peterson, we expected to learn a little more about the man behind the myth. Little did we know, we would learn it from the man himself. The BMF boss cleared up a few inaccuracies in the Peterson story. For example, there were only 20-25 inmates in his former prison with BMF tattoos, and he has not been incarcerated for four years, but seven. After hearing about and getting a copy of our interview with Peterson, Big Meech wrote AllHipHop.com to tell his story.
We sent Big Meech a series of questions, asking his opinion on his prison sentence, and his relationship with Young Jeezy, which strangely enough, appears to be on rocky ground. We even got his opinion of President Obama. Here are his answers, edited only for spelling and grammar (at his request):
AllHipHop.com: Do you regret any of your choices?
Big Meech: No, because the risk has always been worth the reward in most of the choices I made in life, and not all things are by choice when you are a child growing up in the ghetto without a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of.
AllHipHop.com: Why did you start selling?
Big Meech: My brother, sister, and I grew up in a household with both our parents. Neither of my parents had any type of drug or drinking habits. We were raised in the church, so we prayed for everything. When the food stamps and the WIC program box of food was late, then we pray. When the electric and gas got cut off, we pray and to pray is to have faith that God is going to help you or show you the way to help yourself, faith without works means nothing so after many nights with the gas and lights off and going to school with holes in the bottom of my 2 for $15 Payless shoes, and my brother and I wearing the same clothes every other day. Then, we had 30 days to come up with $7,500, or else we would be put out in the street. My brother and I had to find a way to make some fast money, so we hit the streets and came up without having to rob and kill someone. It was supply and demand, simple as that.
I feel God has always watched out for my brother and I, because he knows our hearts. The government sells liquor and cigarettes along with prescription drugs that help one thing and hurt another every day. I haven’t read one drug law in the Bible or in any of the 10 Commandments. If you do a survey, I guarantee you there are more people addicted to prescribed drugs than street drugs. So, long story short, I did what I felt was necessary for my family and I to survive at the time.
What’s funny is as long as I was just selling drugs, I had no problems. Once I went legit, all of a sudden, I have a 15-year conspiracy indictment from 1990-2005 out of the eastern district of Michigan, where I hadn’t lived since 1989, so I still can’t understand how I got indicted in Michigan.
AllHipHop.com: What would you do differently?
Big Meech: Absolutely nothing, I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “experience is the best teacher.” I’ve learned some of life’s most valuable lessons; I’m still learning something new every day as long as I keep living.
Big Meech and Nelly
AllHipHop.com: Why do you think people idolize you?
Big Meech: I’m not sure it’s correct for me to give an specific reason of why people idolize me, because it’s a matter of opinions and those opinions vary in different age groups, from as young as 10 years old to elderly people. I think everyone has an idol or has someone in their life or in the movies that they idolize.
AllHipHop.com: Do you think they should?
Big Meech: I think to say yes would make me seem very arrogant, but to be looked upon as an idol is a great achievement for all of the years of sacrificing, hard work, and dedication building Big Meech and the BMF reputation and brand. I can’t think of any other man incarcerated for the last seven years that’s still relevant or influential, which I’m not sure if you noticed that when Big Meech and BMF fell so did the economy (LOL) and seriously, that’s not a joke or laughing matter because there is nothing funny about people struggling, I just wonder if you notice the major impact that we had and drastic change for the worse in America’s economy after our incarceration near the end of 2005.
AllHipHop.com: What went through your mind when you heard your sentence?
Big Meech: First, I was told by my lawyers that the judge would probably sentence me to between 20 and 30 years, and with it being my first time, I thought that would mean something. But, the judge seemed to have a problem with my brother and me. At every court proceeding, he was on the prosecution’s side instead of being the mediator that a judge is supposed to be. My brother got sentenced to 240 months for money laundering and 360 months for CCE (Continuous Criminal Enterprise) to run concurrent, so I had to keep my composure and a smile on my face for my family and the standing room-only courtroom.
When the judge asked me did I have something to say, I said, “I’m not going to say I’m sorry, because I’m sorry is for people who got caught.” The judge gave me the same sentence as he gave my brother, and I walked out with a smile. It just broke my heart to see my mother break down in tears while the U.S. Attorney laughed. At the end of the day, I feel God won’t allow me to do 30 years, and I was glad to get an outdate because every day down is another day closer to home.
AllHipHop.com: Why are cocaine kingpins so severely punished?
Big Meech: I’m not sure why the government and federal agencies love to hate “cocaine kingpins.” Seventy percent of the people the government allege to be kingpins have never seen a whole kilo or made a million dollars, so evidently the government has no criteria to determine whether a person is a kingpin or not – because I have met crack dealers who had only a few eight balls and ounces that have kingpin time. Just like when the government tried to charge DJ Drama with the RICO for selling mixtapes. I think someone needs to police the government with their judiciary misconduct and abuse of the constitution and laws.
AllHipHop.com: What do you think your punishment should have been?
Big Meech: I definitely don’t think my punishment should have been this severe. Thirty years for my first time, and that was the plea deal (LOL). I would have gotten a life sentence for ghost dope, and one witness testimony if I had went to trial. I think a few years in prison and community service, detouring children and adults from crime and drugs would’ve been much more sufficient, and I could’ve used my influence in a much more positive way.
Part Two: Crack Laws, Obama, and the Jeezy Connection
In Part Two, Big Meech discusses his thoughts on “Blowing Money Fast,” his relationship with Young Jeezy, and what his days are like inside Lewisburg U.S. Penitentiary, Special Management Unit:
AllHipHop.com: Mandatory sentencing disparities recently changed under President Obama. Any thoughts?
Big Meech: (LOL) Yeah, they changed the crack law twice in 24 years, and it still only helped a few people. We are grateful for the ones that it has helped, but all of the drug laws need to be changed, especially for first-time, non-violent offenders. Everyone deserves a second chance in life. Powder and crack are the same drug in different form. You put 15 grams of baking soda on 35 grams of powder cocaine, then cook the 15 grams of baking soda off to bring it to a rock form of 35 grams or less, depending on how you cook. So, what’s the difference besides the thousand years the judge is going to sentence you to in court for the crack instead of powder? The government knows that crack is sold in predominately Black and Hispanic neighborhoods, so that’s who their targets are to keep the incarceration rate up.
AllHipHop.com: What are your thoughts on the president?
Big Meech: First, I’m thankful that God blessed me to live and see our first Black president. I feel that the president before him made one big mess of America that it is impossible for Obama to clean it up, even if he gets a second term. I feel that all the stimulus packages in the world won’t revamp our economy, if we can’t create new jobs or new ways to make money. Violence is high in most of our Black cities and communities because our children have no guidance or people that they respect enough to listen to at home or in the community.
Hopefully, President Obama will take the time to look out for his people before he leaves office. Bush pardoned the most people ever before he left office, which included John Forte who did seven years of a 14-year prison sentence. I’m not looking for a pardon, although I would take it if he did it for me. I would love to see him change all the drug laws which are too severe and extreme for this day and age. If you look at all the fathers and mothers serving lengthy prison sentences, elderly grandparents are raising their young children. The gap between the children and their grandparents is so far apart that communication and understanding between them is almost impossible. So, there’s a lot of hostility and disrespect between young people and elderly people. Other than that, I think President Obama and his family handle being in the spotlight and the scrutiny that comes with that office very well.
AllHipHop.com: What are your thoughts on prisons in America?
Big Meech: We have the highest incarceration rate in the entire world, over three million people and counting. America is supposed to be the land of the free and the home of the brave. Prison is nowhere near the rehabilitation place the justice system claims it is. They mix nonviolent inmates with violent inmates. Some people come in with three or four years, and end up with 20 or more years, or a life sentence simply because they had to protect themselves. Any and everything can send you to jail or prison in America, and that’s not always the right answer. They need to bring back 65 percent (time served of time sentenced) and parole for federal inmates. In the state of Georgia, you do 35 percent of your time if your crime is non-iolent or drug related. The feds are taking over so many state cases, that people who would’ve gotten probation or county jail time are now getting six years or more.
AllHipHop.com: Describe what your day is like?
Big Meech: (LMFAO). I have to laugh at this question to keep from crying, but trust me, I’m crying inside. I’ve been in the hold on ’23 and 1′ [23 hours in cell and one hour out per day] since June 2011. This SMU sh*t is like a torture camp for real. First, showers are only on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Both me and my celly have to cuff up whether one of us is leaving to go to rec, shower, or medical, or if both of us are leaving. Everywhere we go, our hands are in black box handcuffs behind our back with a C.O. holding our cuffs, walking with us. I’m always trying to get out of my handcuffs first because you never know when your celly may have a bad day and jump you while you still have your cuffs on.
There’s three or four fights or stabbings daily, especially since it’s hot. If you disobey them, you’ll get a heavy dose of tear gas, which has the whole building choking and coughing, eyes burning. Then they’ll put you in restraints handcuffed extra tight with a chain around your waist, shackled. I’ve heard grown men cry crocodile tears from their hands swelling and nerve damage from the cuffs. If that’s not enough, they have another form of punishment called “Four Points” where they put you on your back chained around both ankles and wrists in a very cold room with the lights on. Everyone who reads this should look up Lewisburg SMU online and read about the deaths, disfigurements, and inhumane conditions and brutality that goes on in here. So, my days are like a living hell.
AllHipHop.com: How is your family coping?
Big Meech: My family is handling my incarceration the best way that they can, but it’s very hard on my mother and father. My father went to prison for 18 months for money laundering, and both their sons got 30-year sentences which, at their age, seem like life sentences. I’ve been in the worst mood of my bid because my father is in a lot of pain due to diabetes and may have to have both of his legs cut off. I can’t even make a phone call to speak to him or anyone for that matter. I get so frustrated and agitated at times. I have a really strong family bond, so when one of us is going through it, it’s like all of us is going through it.
AllHipHop.com: Do you still talk to Young Jeezy?
Big Meech: I haven’t been able to talk to anyone on the phone for the last five months. The last time I spoke to him was near the end of last year.
AllHipHop.com: How do you feel about his success?
Big Meech: Being the person largely responsible for his success, I’ve always and always will be proud of his success. I would never wish or hope or his downfall for any reasons. I just personally feel that he could do more abut helping me to regain my freedom in a timely fashion, with his success and the position he is in right now in life. For example, [he could say] ‘I could not rest knowing he has a 30-year sentence for a first-time, nonviolent offender. I’m meeting with every reputable attorney in America until I can find one that can at least get him a sentence reduction, if not bring him home…’
…but that’s me and the love I have for him and the majority of people in my B.M.F. family. To be honest, I get ask so many questions about him – from C.O.’s to convicts to random people in the mail – some of which I have no answers for, ’cause for me to have the answers to most of the questions, I would have to have an excuse which there is “NO EXCUSE.”
AllHipHop.com: What do you think of Rick Ross making the song “B.M.F.”?
Big Meech: Actually, I appreciate all of the music that Rick Ross and MMG has put out period. But in 2010, when I first heard my name repeatedly in the “B.M.F.” song, I was like, “Damn, that’s hot.” And it’s a hit. To this day, he has people from all over the world saying, “I think I’m Big Meech,” which is a priceless way of recognizing and paying homage to me and the B.M.F. family. We all have 100% love for Ross and MMG. I think he is a helluva artist and mogul.
Big Meech: (LMAO). I think this question is old and irrelevant, because I have friends and family that are C.O.’s. I’ve ran across some good men and women C.O.’s. I think that Ross is a great example of being a dreamer and dreams coming true, just from what I know about him being with Suave House and writing rhymes and rapping and for all the years he stuck with it. And now he has built a brand and an empire. So the answer is no, it doesn’t bother me that he was a C.O. It would only bother me if he was a “rat.”
AllHipHop.com: Or that he is in a fight with “Freeway Ricky Ross” for the use of his name?
Big Meech: I know “Freeway” but I’ve never spoken to him about his name, but in my opinion, if I felt that we had to get an understanding about the use of my name, then we would arrange a meeting at everyone’s convenience in a comfortable environment not a courtroom. I personally don’t see anything wrong with him using the name. I think he made the Rick Ross name popular and positive; it would be great and more beneficial if they did some charity events together instead of some senseless feud.
AllHipHop.com: Would you ever permit an aspiring rapper to use your name?
Big Meech: I wouldn’t have a problem with it as long as he’s good at his craft, especially if he’s as successful as Rick Ross and 50 Cent. Both of those men made their names worldwide household brands, and I respect both of their grinds to success. They both are very blessed, whether they realize it or not.
AllHipHop.com: Is it possible that you could come home?
Big Meech: I have an out-date where I could come home one day, but I’m not trying to wait until the “Elroy Jetson” date of 2032 that the BOP has given me. If some of these political figures, ACLU, or NAACP would speak up and stand up for me, which would put my unjust 30-year plea deal in the spotlight, I probably would’ve been home three or four years ago. Those types of people only seem to speak up once one of us has been killed, then it’s too late. If enough people come together with voting power, I could see a change in my sentence or come home, just like when Russell Simmons helped change the RICO law in New York.
AllHipHop.com: How do you keep your sanity?
Big Meech: I’ve been through so much in my lifetime to make me the strong-minded man that I am. They can’t break what they didn’t create, so I stay focused on the future and being free again. I try to stay in tune with what’s going on in the world today in music, entertainment, technology, and sports, just to feel like I’m still up on everything. But for real, I refuse to lose anything more than the time I have already lost that I can never get back. They can’t undo what I’ve already done and they can’t change or erase my memories and history. I know I have more life ahead of me than behind me so like I said in my letter on MySpace in 2006, “Nothing beats the trials of the present like the EXPECTATIONS of the future.”