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16 Bars (Vinyl)
> Original soundtrack album to the award-winning prison documentary film 16 Bars, released to coincide with the film’s theatrical screening and subsequent DVD in April
> Produced by two-time Grammy-winner Todd “Speech” Thomas of Arrested Development
> 16 Bars offers a rare glimpse at the human stories and songs locked away in USA prisons
> The film follows a unique rehabilitation effort in a Virginia jail that encourages inmates to write and record original music
> 180g vinyl, includes download card
In the spring of 2017, Atlanta-based two-time Grammy-winner Speech, from the hip-hop crew Arrested Development, travelled to Virginia with the goal of recording an album behind bars. Speech was invited to the Richmond Jail by Sheri C.T. Woody Jr., who was implementing a rehabilitation program that included job training, substance abuse treatment, group therapy, and a makeshift recording studio.
In a small concrete room on the jail’s 6th floor, Speech met with four men in the REAL program—Teddy, Anthony, Devonte and Garland—listened to their stories and collaborated with them on original compositions and lyrics. The process, captured by Brooklyn-based filmmakers at Resonant Pictures, became the documentary film “16 Bars.”
These recordings were captured in one jail, in one city, over the course of just a few weeks. And yet, the struggle, perspective and inspiration these four men express in their lyrics expose a much larger picture.
“This music is capturing this moment in time in our country,” says Speech. “We have the largest prison population on planet Earth. In some states, one in four black males are gonna spend time in prison. That’s a lot. And I know we don’t necessarily have all the solutions, but we’re also not asking the guys on the inside why they’re actually there. They have things that they need to be able to say to all of us.”
Speech Thomas is widely considered one of the godfathers of conscious hip-hop. His band Arrested Development’s 1993 debut album “3 Years, 5 Months & 2 Days in the Life of…” went quadruple platinum and achieved what few thought was possible at the time, establishing an Afrocentric alternative to gangster rap that was commercially viable. 25 years later, Speech continues to tour the world with his band and seek out opportunities to use music to address issues of social and racial justice.
2. Broken Chains
4. Where My Daddy At?
5. Lost One
6. Lay My Burden Down
7. Freedom Wind
8. Steam Train Salvation
9. Two Stamps