The 25 Realest Rap Songs About Prison

Raekwon f/ Nas & Ghostface Killah "Verbal Intercourse" (1995)

Producer: RZA
Album: Only Built 4 Cuban Linx
Label: Loud/RCA/BMG

Nas' extraordinary guest verse on here is what people tend to remember about this song. How could they not? While becoming the first non-Wu rapper to enter the 36 chambers, he spit a perfectly concise explanation of recidivism ("It's like a cycle, niggas come home, some'll go in/Do a bullet, come back, do the same shit again"), never mind a description of one the most disgusting parts of your man doing jail time ("On a bus to Riker's Isle/Holding weed inside they pussy").

But it's Ghostface's verse on here that really captures the daily terrors of the average inmate. The fear, the paranoia, the shivs, and how you wish you had a crew to hold you down. In other words, Ghost describes the kind of thing you only see on shows like Oz and The Wire and on hip-hop songs. It isn't concerned with being a cautionary tale, or glorifying; just capturing the feeling of anxious terror. Nas would offer a concise summary of Ghost's verse on "Nas Is Like," rhyming, "I'm like being locked down around new faces, and none of 'em fam." —Insanul Ahmed

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