Die Jim Crow is a one-of-a-kind, multimedia concept album written and performed by currently and formerly incarcerated artists about the black American experience in the era of mass incarceration.
It is the first studio album recorded in multiple U.S. prisons.
“Headed to the Streets” was conceived at Muncy State Correctional Institution, a Pennsylvania prison, by vocalist and writer B.L. Shirelle, who was incarcerated at the time. Her lyrics were sent to Anthony “Big Ant” McKinney and Mark B. Springer, two musicians serving life sentences at Warren Correctional Institution in Lebanon, Ohio, who orchestrated the song’s musical composition.
Aside from the lead guitar and background vocals, all of the instrumentation was recorded with incarcerated musicians comprising a full band at WCI and featuring Big Ant on vocals. Upon Shirelle’s release, Fury Young and dr. Israel recorded her vocals in her hometown of Philly.
The “Headed to the Streets” single release is a milestone for the larger Die Jim Crow project. It includes the release of the first music video, a tour-de-force directed by Fury Young, and two heavy and progressive remixes by Bill Laswell and by dr. Israel.
“Headed to the Streets” is being released on the historic anniversary date of Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day. In 1865, this was the day of the announcement of the abolition of slavery in Texas and the beginning of emancipation throughout the South.
The Die Jim Crow EP will be officially released in Fall 2018. The full length LP will be released in 2020 with a documentary and art book component. There are also plans for extensive international touring in support of the project.
The main goal of the Die Jim Crow project is to allow prisoners who have traditionally been denied a voice an opportunity to tell their story. The project also provides a safe creative space for formerly and currently incarcerated collaborators to express, process, and heal through writing, recording, and producing music.
For more information, check out:
Follow Die Jim Crow