This week, a hip-hop video emerged online, billing itself as the first music video filmed in prison. The video was posted to WorldStarHipHop.com and has received more than 909,000 views in just days, although its claims of being the first of its kind are probably unfounded.
Country music legend Johnny Cash is credited as the first artist to film at a corrections facility with filming his live follow-up concert televised from California’s Folsom State Prison in 1976. Clifford Harris — better known as rap star T.I. — also managed to pull off the filming of the first ever video from a corrections facility 2004 while Harris was incarcerated in a Fulton County, Georgia facility following a probation violation. The difference, though, is that Harris appears to have gotten a film crew to come into the facility for the shoot, although claims of prior authorization were hotly debated at the time.
The recent corrections facility video is unique in that each of the artists featured at the yet unnamed South Carolina prison are current inmates who apparently came together to produced, filmed and star in the video. The expression of their musical genius may land the South Carolina inmates in hot water, as the saying goes, because the equipment required for any type of filming (cell phones, video camcorders, etc.) is banned for prison inmates by all corrections facilities. And with one of the featured artists prominently displaying his regular attire (a gray jumpsuit with SCDC — ‘South Carolina Department of Corrections’ — boldly printed on the back), the violation is virtually undeniable. This week, a corrections department spokesperson issued a statement, saying: “SCDC is in the process of investigating the video. Once the investigation is complete, inmates involved will be appropriately charged.”
Although it’s hardly a secret that cell phones are smuggled into corrections facilities often, this incident may go down as one of the boldest displays of this type of rules violation. But on the video, the artists displayed unquestionable musical talent as the a capella performance featured beat boxing in the background and lyrics delivered from multiple rappers). Perhaps after their release, each of them will pursue their musical passions as a career.