Maino Breathes Life Into Pain As The Ghost Of Kalief Browder (Audio)

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Kalief Browder’s name is becoming more well known each day, though most would argue it’s too little, too late. Spending more than 1,000 days at Rikers Island prison for a crime he didn’t commit, Browder was a young man of color who suffered excruciating injustice at the hands of this country’s failed criminal-justice system. Solitary confinement, physical and mental abuse from fellow inmates and prison employees, & delays in legal proceedings eventually drove the 22-year-old to commit suicide, a tragic bookend to a story that is commonplace in America.

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However, since his death, Browder has inspired a reform movement in his native New York City and elsewhere, galvanizing efforts from politicians and celebrities alike. From the recent push to close the prison and rename Rikers Island in his honor, to Jay Z’s gripping series documenting Browder’s ordeal, Kalief’s name will prove to live on in powerful ways. Now, it seems that Brooklyn, New York rapper Maino has also been galvanized, as today (April 6), he releases a gripping record in which he raps from the perspective of the late Browder.

“The Ghost of Kalief Browder” begins with Browder’s own words, taken from an interview with Marc Lamont Hill for HuffPost Live. In the song, Maino (as Browder) raps the details of the alleged crime – a robbery – and the deplorable conditions of his new life behind bars. With illustrative rhymes, Maino really paints a picture of Browder’s physical and mental states, in many ways pointing to the sad fact that Browder’s story is relatable to others.

Maino took to Instagram to express his feelings about Kalief Browder’s case, and why it moved him to make the powerful record:

“I realize everyone won’t be able to relate to this one. But this story, His story really hit home for me. I watched the documentary and It brought back so many memories of Pain and loss. Suffering and Hopelessness. You see like Kalief, I too was incarcerated at 16 years old and walked the same corridors and lived in the same housing Units as he did. I also spent years in solitary confinement. Everyday I realize that I am blessed to have made it past those circumstances and to be free, continuously striving. But everybody is affected differently, and i guess he wasn’t able to continue his path any longer. Some people will never know wut it is to have their liberty taken from them. To live in a cell for 23 hrs a day for months and months. To be fed thru a food slot. To try to keep hope in a hopeless environment. Trying to feel alive in a dead place. Man!!! I was so moved by this story it inspired me. There are hundreds, maybe thousands of Kalief Browders. And for them I made this. Salute. Stay strong. Stay alive.”