Dec 23 2010

Songs about Prison/Jail

One of the most entertaining parts of starting this blog is the requests that I receive for various posts. Interestingly I have been getting quite a few requests for information from high school and college-aged young people. About three weeks ago, a young man e-mailed to ask me for my list of favorite songs about prison or jail. I have to admit that I had never thought about this before. I don’t know that I really had any “favorite” jail or prison themed songs. But in thinking about it for the past couple of weeks, I came up with this list of songs that I like.

Sam Cooke’s Chain Gang

“That’s the sound of the men working on the chain gang…”

One of my favorite songs about anything…period.

Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos by Public Enemy

“I got a letter from the government the other day. I opened it and it said they were suckers….”

I can’t say anything about PE except that they are geniuses.

16 on Death Row by Tupac

This is a song that I have listened to 100 times and I get something new from it EVERY TIME. Tupac is another genius.

Dear mama, these cops don’t understand me
I turned to a life of crime, cause I came from a broken family
My uncle used to touch me, I never told you that
Scared what you might do, I couldn’t hold you back
I kept it deep inside, I done let it fuel my anger
I’m down for all my homies, no mercy for a stranger
The brother in my cell, is 16 as well
It’s hard to adapt, when you’re black and you’re trapped in a livin Hell
I shouldn’ta let him catch me
Instead of livin sad in jail I coulda died free and happy
And my cellmate’s raped on the norm
And passed around the dorm, you can hear his asshole gettin torn
They made me an animal
Can’t sleep, instead of countin sheep, niggaz countin cannibals
And that’s how it is in the pen
Turn old and cold, and your soul is your best friend
My mama prayed for me
Tell the Lord to make way for me, prepare any day for me (why?)
Cause when they come for me they find a struggler
To the death I take the breath from your jugular
The trick is to never lose hope
I found my buddy hangin dead from a rope, 16 on Death Row

Folsom Prison Blues by Johnny Cash

“I hear the train a-comin’…”

A classic song…

Behind Bars by Slick Rick

An amazingly creative music video…

Out on a Furlough bu WC and the MAAD Circle

I love this song, always have. The entire album is terrific.

Locked up by Akon

Honorable Mentions:

Jail House Rock by Elvis Presley


Jail House Rap by the Fat Boys

I had to include this because it reminds me of growing up and the video is really funny to me (sorry Fat Boys).

What are your choices?