12 Best Rap Songs About Going To Prison

Rap Songs About Going To Prison
Written by Corey Morgan

Top Rap Songs About Going to Prison

So many hip-hop artists have had troubled lives themselves, so it’s hardly surprising that some of the best rap songs are about time spent behind bars. In truth, several famous musicians, including Tupac and Gucci Mane, have composed music (including prison songs) while behind bars.

Behind prison or not, though, some of hip-biggest hop’s singles are those about being incarcerated, getting out, and never going back. So why are rap songs about prison so popular? Lets find out below:

12 Top Rap Songs About Going to Prison

1. Akon locked up

Akon - Locked Up (Official Music Video) ft. Styles P

This song is almost certainly going to be the first song that comes to anyone’s mind when they are asked to mention rap songs about going to Prison.

The protagonist of this tune is a drug runner who winds himself behind bars. Autobiographical, with the notable exception that Akon served time for armed robbery rather than narcotics offenses in prison.

Akon was imprisoned for three years due to car theft prior to his renowned music career. The Senegalese artist described his incarceration as a “changing point” in an interview with Clayton Perry on Blogcritics Magazine. What he meant was: “My first thought when sitting in jail was, “Oh, my life can’t be like this. There must be a different approach.

Exactly what I’m saying, right? I had a new outlook on life, like, “When I get out, this is what I aim to do,” and it inspired me to make a record titled “Locked Up.” The experience allowed me to pursue additional interests. At that time, music had a significant role to play. It was at that point that I realized the precise time.

2. One Love by Nas

Nas - One Love (Official Video)

“One Love” by Nas (1994) “is a song by Nas, an American rapper, which came out on Columbia Records on October 25, 1994. His first studio album, Illmatic, of which this is the fifth and final radio single, was released in 1996. (1994).

A Tribe Called Quest member Q-Tip produced the song and provided the chorus vocals. Nas claims that the song’s title is an homage to a song by Bob Marley, a musician and singer from Jamaica.

Nas wrote the songs that make up “One Love” as letters to his incarcerated comrades, detailing their lives both before and after their imprisonment. Clips from 1975’s “Come in out of the Rain” by Parliament and 1975’s “Smilin’ Billy Suite Part II” by the Heath Brothers can be heard in “One Love” (1970).

Nas, in the opening verse of the song, makes a reference to Cormega, a fellow Queensbridge emcee whose rapping career was temporarily derailed by his imprisonment in the early 1990s. VH1 ranked “One Love” as the 48th greatest hip hop song of all time in 2008.

3. 2Pac – 16 On Death Row (1992)

The common misconception is that Tupac only sang about himself and his life experiences. In fact, it wasn’t until Tupac was shot in Manhattan that he started rapping about his personal life. Prior to that time, he rapped on the experiences of ghetto youngsters in general, putting himself in their shoes.

In spite of this, 16 on Death Row is written from the viewpoint of a young cat seeing inner-city reality. The rage and intensity he conveys in his music are authentic and reflective of the feelings of many others in similar situations. Indeed, he reflected the culture at large and expressed its complexities as no one else. Lyrically, this is one of the best rap songs about going to prison you should listen to.

4. Capone & Noreaga – On the Phone (2002)

Capone-N-Noreaga - Phonetime (Official Music Video)

The song is a concept piece in which Noreaga speaks to a jailed Capone by phone. They compare and contrast the ways in which their respective stories have been told.

5. Snoop Dogg, “The Case Was Murder” (1993)

Snoop Dogg - Murder Music (Lyrics) ft. Jadakiss, Benny The Butcher & Busta Rhymes

Before releasing this track from his debut album Doggystyle, Snoop Dogg was arrested and accused with the death of a gang member named Philip Woldemariam.

Snoop didn’t fire the shot; he and his bodyguard, McKinley Lee, had driven up to where Woldemariam and his companions were enjoying Mexican food in a Jeep. Lee and Woldemariam got into an argument, and then Lee got out of the Jeep and shot Woldemariam.

As a result of bail made by Snoop’s label, Death Row, both Lee and Snoop were released from custody after being charged with murder. Snoop Dogg imagines himself as a shooting victim who comes out of a coma only to perpetrate crimes and be killed in prison, although the song isn’t about the actual event.

The protagonist in the song is given a second chance and then squanders it, representing an action that Snoop hopes to avoid in real life.

Lee and Snoop were represented by Johnnie Cochran and were acquitted with him in 1996. Snoop took his own advice to heart and changed his behavior to avoid anything that could lead to his death or incarceration.

6. Ludacris ` Do Your Time

The work of Ludacris has always been inconsistent; he can be dope, but then he can also be pop-wacky. However, this tune is dope since it features Beanie Sigel, C-Murder, and Pimp C, all of whom discuss their experiences in prison.

7. Ice T – The Tower

Ice-T - The Tower (Official Video) [Explicit]

One of Ice-deepest T’s raps, the song’s lack of profanity indicates that he intended for it to be taken seriously. The topic at hand is the penal system. When the rap’s protagonist visits a prison, he or she is immediately exposed to brutality. The final verse describes how he attacked two (or more) men and was therefore labeled a “lifer,” or an inmate doomed to spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Also noteworthy is the rap’s second stanza, which serves as a strong indictment of homophobia. On the track “Straight Up Nigga” from the same album, Ice-T proclaimed that a person’s sexual orientation was none of anybody else’s business.

When it came to the 1990s rap scene, he was one of the very, very few rappers who openly criticized homophobia. (However, in the songs “409” and “I Love Ladies” from his debut album, he did make some light homophobic jokes.)

8. Belly Of The Beast: The Lifers’ Group (1991)

Lifer's Group - Belly Of The Beast

While other artists have written songs about imprisonment, many of them don’t reflect the actual experiences of the songwriters. This band, however, was founded in prison by actual inmates who were each given sentences ranging from 25 years to double life.

This is a powerful statement from within East Jersey State Prison, New Jersey, imploring the outside world to have some sense and stay out of prison. This album is very serious, therefore take notes on our misfortunes so you won’t have to go through what we did to avoid the beast’s stomach. It’s the genuine deal, folks.

9. The Nate Dogg ft. Snoop Dogg single “Never-Leave-Me-Alone”

Nate Dogg & Snoop Dogg - Never Leave Me Alone (R.I.P. Nate)

Snoop’s verse, written from within the context of Nate Dogg’s 1998 G-Funk tune about an O.G. torn between love and criminality, provides insightful perspective from inside the jail walls. Later, Snoop begins to wonder if his boo is truly as faithful as she seems on the surface.

10. Rick the Slick: Locked up

Slick Rick - Behind Bars (Official Music Video)

Slick In 1990, Rick shot his cousin and former bodyguard Mark Plummer, as well as an innocent bystander. He pled guilty to both counts of attempted murder that he was indicted for. These allegations were:

  • Assault
  • The using of a firearm
  • Armed criminal activity

Rick was sentenced to five years in prison; two years were spent on the then-second degree attempted murder charges he received for the shooting, and another three years were spent on the INS struggle. He was in trouble, but Russell Simmons came to the rescue.

Ricky D’s second studio album was recorded after he was released on bail. The album was met with lukewarm reviews, and sales indicated that Rick’s star was on the decline.

This song and its accompanying CD were both published in 1994, when Rick was still serving time for a previous conviction. Even though it did worse than his debut, this album was warmly reviewed. Rick was given his freedom in 1996.

11. The Hole


X-Raided - The Hole

X-Raided narrates a tale about being moved from one prison to another, how he wound up in solitary confinement, and the acts that followed.

12. Kendrick lamar these walls

Kendrick Lamar - These Walls (Explicit) ft. Bilal, Anna Wise, Thundercat

The phrase “if these walls could talk…” is used in the title. Kendrick’s wordplay is dense with metaphor and allusion, from the “walls” of a woman’s vagina to the “walls” of a prison cell to the “walls” of his own mind and conscience. Kendrick used this device to delve into topics as varied as sexuality, abuse, his professional life, his rivals, and the human mind.

Kendrick’s sex with a woman who’s kids were fathered by a man serving time for killing one of Kendrick’s pals is described in the song’s narrative. Kendrick sees this as an act of revenge for his murdered friend, but he also feels guilty about abusing his celebrity and influence to lure someone for this purpose.

As an analogy for a never-ending cycle of murder, desire, seduction, vengeance, and remorse, “these walls” ultimately symbolize being trapped by the circumstances.