by Paul Bowers
A video posted Monday on WorldStarHipHop.com claims to be the first music video in a prison. While that distinction actually goes to the late Johnny Cash, this particular video has a twist: It appears to have been filmed and performed entirely by South Carolina inmates. So far, it has been watched more than 430,000 times.
Early in the video, one inmate's back faces the camera, showing the letters SCDC printed on his shirt — as in S.C. Department of Corrections. At other times, inmates rap about being from "South Cack" and refer to "Ninety Six," although it's unclear whether the lyric is a reference to the number, the year, or the town in South Carolina.
S.C. Department of Corrections officials could not be reached for comment, but a spokesperson told WIS in Columbia that officials had identified some of the inmates and were working to identify the rest. The spokesperson did not say in which prison the incident took place, but she issued the following statement:
"SCDC is in the process of investigating the video. Once the investigation is complete, inmates involved will be appropriately charged."
The first question the video raises is about how it was filmed. Cell phones are banned among inmates, but they have proliferated as contraband items in recent years, especially in South Carolina, causing some prison officials to consider jamming cell phone signals within their facilities.
The second question it raises is: What do you think of their rap game?
Recorded in a single shot, the song is entirely a capella, with rappers trading off verses over hums and beatboxing. Two refrains in the song go, "I'm on fire, I'm on fire, I'm on," and "Mix, mix, we 'bout to mix the game up." It's not inconceivable that someone could listen to this track to get pumped up before an athletic event.
Here's another verse, as best as we could tell:
"I step out my new car/ Chain gave me weird landin'/ Light up that new reefer/ Hit it twice then tap ashes/ I ball like I'm bowlin'/ [?] like you ping pong/ [?] so large, you think I'm ridin' with King Kong."
The City Paper asked WorldStarHipHop for comment on the video but has not received a response yet. The website, which features hip-hop videos, has gained notoriety as a shock site where users submit videos of brutal street fights and people having sex in public.