Melody Maker | Info Freako | 23 January 1993
Several weeks ago, one of the Sunday supplements ran an article about gangster rap which mentioned an act called Lifers Group. Do you know who these people are?
C Rollings, London NW2
Forget Ice-T and forget Ice Cube, the Lifers Group are the ultimate in gangster rappers. All of the dozen or so guys featured on the group's eponymous mini-album are serving maximum jail sentences in Rahway State Penitentiary, New Jersey. The LP, which came out in 1991 on Hollywood Basic, was recorded on a mobile studio in the prison.
The lyrics of tracks like "The Real Deal" and "Into The Belly Of The Beast" are a grim warning to anybody tempted to follow the rappers' lead in trying to rob and shoot their way out of the ghetto. As are the photos of the members of the group inside their cramped cells that decorate the album sleeve. Each is identified in the credits by their prison number.
In addition to the album, all of the royalties for which go to the Juvenile Awareness Program, Lifers Group have also produced a line of T-shirts bearing the message, "Learn at the expense of our sorrow". As you might imagine, they've not had an opportunity to sell the shirts at gigs.