Bars behind bars

While fans of rapper Kodak Black enjoy his recent mixtape “Heartbreak”, Kodak himself waits patiently. Specifically, he waits in jail.

How did he drop music from jail?

In this case, Kodak Black’s producers had enough material recorded to finish his album after he was apprehended by the police for child neglect and a weapons charges. This isn’t the first time the popular rapper has mixed his career and run ins with the law.

In 2016, when Kodak was imprisoned for 120 days on 2 misdemeanor charges for marijuana possession, he rapped over a prison phone in order to continue releasing his bars and sharing his talent with the outside world.

He isn’t the only artist to create music behind bars.

Gucci Mane was released from jail in 2016 and has made good use of his time since, but he didn’t waste his time in jail, either. In 2014, while he was incarcerated for the entire year, he dropped 24 mixtapes from jail and made over a million dollars.

The real hero in Gucci’s case is producer Sean Paine, who put the mixtapes together through a combination of archives of Gucci’s work before he went to jail and beats that he produced himself. Gucci called Paine once a week and consistently emailed his producer from jail, but that was the extent of their contact.

Rapper Tay-K (Source PageSix.com).

Rapper Tay-K (Source PageSix.com).

Another popular rapper, Tay-K, has also released music in the face of legal problems. If you haven’t heard “The Race,” you should take a listen. While being chased for a capital murder charge, Tay-K released “The Race” on his last day of freedom that described his situation at the time: “But I didn’t beat that case, bitch I did the race”. I wouldn’t quite call running from the police a “race,” but that doesn’t change the fact that he created one hell of a song.

This all calls into question: just how much do these rappers care about the art they create?

Maybe they create music in jail because they simply have nothing else to do. Or maybe they can’t bear to be apart from their one true passion in life: creating music and expressing their thoughts to the world.

Either way, what is important is the separation of the bad things these artists might have done and the art they create.

Art should be appreciated despite the shortcomings of those who created it.

 

rhnbd@mail.umkc.edu

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