7 episodes

As four men are held in a Virginia jail, they record an album to chronicle their efforts to break free from an oppressive cycle of addiction and incarceration. In each music-infused episode of this documentary series, host and trailblazing hip-hop artist Speech Thomas meets a musician at a crossroads in their uphill struggle for freedom, learns what brought them to this inflection point, and helps them record a song that captures this critical moment in their life. From soulful country to fiery hip-hop and haunting R&B, this music affirms the lives of people who are written off by society. And amidst a re-entry crisis afflicting millions of Americans every year, these intimate stories from behind the walls of a local jail ask: What does it take to rebuild a life after incarceration?

Track Change NPR

    • Society & Culture
    • 5.0 • 14 Ratings

As four men are held in a Virginia jail, they record an album to chronicle their efforts to break free from an oppressive cycle of addiction and incarceration. In each music-infused episode of this documentary series, host and trailblazing hip-hop artist Speech Thomas meets a musician at a crossroads in their uphill struggle for freedom, learns what brought them to this inflection point, and helps them record a song that captures this critical moment in their life. From soulful country to fiery hip-hop and haunting R&B, this music affirms the lives of people who are written off by society. And amidst a re-entry crisis afflicting millions of Americans every year, these intimate stories from behind the walls of a local jail ask: What does it take to rebuild a life after incarceration?

    01. I Wrote This to Inspire

    01. I Wrote This to Inspire

    Recently freed from a state prison, rap prodigy Teddy navigates the enormity of landing a job, healing from childhood trauma, and staying sober all at the same time.

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    • 30 min
    02. I Know I'm Getting Stronger

    02. I Know I'm Getting Stronger

    While awaiting his court date, country singer-songwriter Garland reckons with his own choices and tries to lay down a stronger foundation with his girlfriend, Kelly.

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    • 29 min
    03. I'm Tired of Recidivism

    03. I'm Tired of Recidivism

    Struggling to keep up with his rehabilitation program, amateur rapper Anthony confronts the damage done by an entire life spent fighting for survival.

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    • 26 min
    04. I Gotta Break These Chains

    04. I Gotta Break These Chains

    With his release from jail just weeks away, hip-hop musician Devonte does everything he can to balance the love he has for his family against the big risks that come with their history.

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    • 28 min
    05. Before the Miracle Happens

    05. Before the Miracle Happens

    Seven years after the REAL program left the Richmond city jail, Speech shares what's happened to the men he made music with — and reflects on what it takes to solve the nationwide re-entry crisis that they're grappling with.

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    • 37 min
    Track Change Presents: "I'm Somebody's Hero" from Uncuffed and KALW Public Radio

    Track Change Presents: "I'm Somebody's Hero" from Uncuffed and KALW Public Radio

    Growing up, Thanh Tran never felt like he had a home. He was raised in the foster care system, was in and out of juvenile hall as a teenager, and went to prison at 18. Just over a decade later, he got what he had been working toward for years: freedom. This record of Thanh's journey comes from Uncuffed, an audio storytelling program based out of California's San Quentin and Solano State prisons.

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    • 41 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
14 Ratings

14 Ratings

Rick 645446669 ,

This album!!!

How and when can I buy this project?? And I hope that some of my money will go towards helping these talented artists get some help on the inside and some help when they get on the outside???!!!🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻✌🏻&❤️

NotDavies ,

A joy to listen to.

I am glad to know this exists in the world. I know that this took a long time to produce. Giving opportunities to people who are in the most difficult of situations is not an easy task to do. Kudos and congrats to the team for getting this out!

BFF French Fries ,

They’re good songs, Brandt.

I helped make this show. It was an honor to share space with these men, be in direct contact with them, and work with the music they've created. I learned about the reality of incarceration in ways no other podcast has ever shown me, and I’m grateful for the privilege to listen.

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