The 25 Realest Rap Songs About Prison

The Convicts "Penitentiary Blues" (1991)

Producer: Doug King, James Smith, John Bido, Johnny "C" & Simon Cullins
Album: Convicts
Label: Rap-A-Lot

Big Mike of the Convicts breaks the prison experience down into three distinct tropes: nicotine cravings, sexual deprivation, and malnourishment. He brings a level of detail to the daily tribulations that puts the listener right into the cell with him. The cell, the shower, the mess hall, the yard, and before any of that, the court room. He's wildly frustrated with his own circumstances: no cigarettes, his girl back home taking up with a new man, terrible food. But it doesn't stop there. He observes the plight of everyone from the child molestor who will in turn be raped himself to "the juvenile right there named Buck" who gets 50 years. Life inside is a tough existence, from all perspectives, and "Penitentiary Blues" is aware of them all. —Ernest Baker

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