Rapper performs for prisons

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A Cumbernauld rapper has released an album featuring the talents of young men from Her Majesty’s Young Offenders Institution in Polmont.

Marc Pawson, aka Mpfree, has been performing and developing his own brand of positive hip-hop for the past two years but his latest compilation ‘Writers Block’, features a ground-breaking 19 tracks, including contributions from young men within HMYOI Polmont.

And the ‘mix tape’ will be distributed to prisons across the country.

Marc, who has previously featured in the News and Chronicle, explained: “Hip hop as a genre gets little to no airplay on prison radio stations because most of the music glorifies money, drug abuse, substance abuse and violence.

“My message is more about hope. I don’t base my lyrics on the cliché of sex, drugs and money.

“They are based on life, faith and how we go about our day to day lives.”

The 31-year-old visited Polmont’s Inside Radio station as part of the production of ‘Writers Block’, delivering hip hop workshops to a group of young people, and recording them rapping about a variety of subjects close to their hearts, including fatherhood, regrets and positive changes.

Mpfree is a familiar and popular face in Polmont, having performed a concert earlier this year for an audience of 80 young people and staff in the establishment.

He also shared his experiences with the young people, explaining how he chose to abandon a violent lifestyle to

pursue a different path in life, and became a college graduate and established performer.

The establishment was also chosen as the venue to mark the release of Writer’s Block, as Mpfree, and the young musicians who contributed to the compilation, performed for an audience of staff and young people at Polmont last week.

Mpfree has also visited other Scottish prisons, to speak with people in custody, and his music has regularly featured on Inside Radio and its Edinburgh counterpart, ClinkFM.

Mpfree is keen that those in custody elsewhere in Scotland and beyond will be inspired by the contributions of the young people in Polmont, and relate to the positive message of hope behind the music.

He said: “One of my favourite tracks on Writer’s Block is called ‘Like Father, Like Son’, and it features me and a group of the young offenders.

“ I have three young daughters and fatherhood is a scary thing for me.

“My Dad wasn’t around when I was young so I was nervous when it came to that time in my life.

“The guys from Polmont are on the track talking about their experiences of fatherhood, what they’ve been through, and what they’d like to be in the end. It’s a really powerful song.”