It wasn’t a complete surprise, but nonetheless Lil’ Wayne’s first on-stage appearance since being released from jail brings up many topics about prison concerts that we must explore.
As We All Scheme reports, Drake was joined on stage by his rap mentor and friend Lil’ Wayne. As you can tell by the video, fans loved seeing Weezy back on stage. And we all know that fans love the rock and awe of surprise shows.
But I’d like to wind the clock back a bit to wonder about something else.
I’d like to know if Lil Wayne performed any concerts while in jail at Rikers.
According to this Guardian report, we know that:
“Lil Wayne has a cell to himself with the option of spending time in a TV room with 17 other inmates who have been separated because of their notoriety or for other reasons…”
And the Guardian report also notes that
“Lil Wayne told Rolling Stone magazine last month he planned to keep working while behind bars: “I’ll be still rapping in there, have a gang of raps ready when I come back home.”
So I’d like to think that Lil Wayne had to perform some sort of secret mini-concert for inmates while in the slammer.
And I know that many other rappers have done time before at different stages of their careers, so I wonder if there is any video or audio footage of guys like Tu Pac Shakur and others rapping live for fellow inmates in prison.
The Real Deal: Johnny Cash At Folsom Prison
Speaking of prison performances, this Lil’ Wayne slammer story made me think of one of the most famous and legendary concerts ever: Johnny Cash At Folsom Prison. I’ve listened to that live album many times and it always gives me chills and makes me shake my head in awe and wonder.
One of the reasons the Folsom prison show is so legendary is obviously because few concerts take place in a prison with the inmates as the audience.
What also makes the show legendary is the way Cash plays and interacts with the crowd.
He moves like a master performer through the set list. And any performer can learn a lot by paying attention to how Cash talks with the inmates in between songs.
He appears to be reckless and maverick, but if you listening closely to how and what he says, and the timing and delivery of his mini-speeches, you’ll quickly understand why the Folsom prison recording is such a powerful and crucial moment in live concert history.
Beyond Cash’s performance, credit is also due to the recording. It captures the energy, emotions and palpable vibe in the prison during the show, which is why the concert is one of the best live albums of all-time.
And because it’s one of the most unique live concerts ever recorded, it also has an interesting back story that we’ve explore before.
What About Rap Concerts In Prison?
Now, that’s how Johnny Cash does prison concerts. And I haven’t had the chance to figure out how many rappers, if any, have ever performed live in prison, whether during their sentence or just as a regular concert at prison.
But I’ll be sure to do some digging for you through Lil’ Wayne’s prison blog Weezy Thanx You and other sources and report back.
But in the meantime let’s wonder about a few things…
- What if performing for inmates at other prisons was part of Lil Wayne’s post-prison community service? And what if fans could see the shows at the prison and the proceeds of the tickets went to support prison programs to help teach music education to inmates as part of their rehabilitation program?
- If Lil’ Wayne did perform for inmates, what was going through the minds of inmates during the show?
- We’ve seen the concerts get redefined by their local before on the Blogotheque and other secret shows, so how do prison concerts fit into our experiment?
- If Lil’ Wayne were to give a concert for inmates at Rikers, would it be as good as Johnny Cash’s Folsom prison show?
Were you at the Lil Wayne concert in Las Vegas? What was it like? Have you ever seen, or performed, a concert in a prison?