Jacob Yoffee and Roahn Hylton on Scoring Social Justice in Amazon’s “Free Meek”

Free Meek, Jacob Yoffee and Roahn Hylton "Free Meek" composers Roahn Hylton (L) and Jacob Yoffee (R). (Photo: Priscilla Jimenez)

Welcome back to More of a Comment, Really…, a weekly interview podcast hosted by Clint Worthington! Every episode will feature interviews with actors, filmmakers, producers, and more, giving you the skinny on the latest films and TV.

Meek Mill, born Robert Rihmeek Williams, is one of Philadelphia’s most favored sons, and one of rap’s most exciting new voices. Unfortunately, he’s also been the subject of an ongoing relationship with the American criminal justice system, one historically and pathologically committed to punishing young black men at a disproportionate rate. After one fateful night in 2008, where he was convicted of drug dealing, gun possession and a host of other offenses (the details of which are still in debate), Meek has spent the last eleven years vacillating between parole and brief stints in prison.

Today sees the release of Free Meek, Amazon’s new docuseries, executive produced by Jay-Z, which seeks to tie Meek’s story to the broader story of the inequities of the criminal justice system. Throughout its five episodes, the show weaves through Meek’s own life and career, as well as the contentious relationship African-Americans (especially those in low-income neighborhoods) often have with police and judges and the rising social movements to address those inequalities. It’s vibrant, affecting stuff, eye-opening (though certainly not impartial) in its assessment of Meek’s treatment as indicative of the challenges faced by young black men trapped in the system.

To score Free Meek, long-time collaborators Jacob Yoffee and Roahn Hylton worked hard to meld Meek’s hip-hop background with more traditional documentary scoring. On this week’s podcast, I sat down to talk with them about blending their unique styles (Yoffee comes from a classical/jazz background, Hylton pop and hip-hop), the on-the-fly nature of scoring a docuseries as it’s being made, and how Meek’s story has become a rallying cry to change policing practices in this country.

(More of a Comment, Really… is a proud member of the Chicago Podcast Coop. Thanks to Overcast for sponsoring this episode!)


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Behind the Music of Free Meek Featurette:

Directed/edited by Zev Lerner
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