Lifers Group

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Lifers Group
Origin Rahway, New Jersey, United States
Genres hip hop
Years active 1991–1993
Labels Hollywood Basic

Lifers Group was a hip hop group formed by prisoners at East Jersey State Prison in Rahway, New Jersey in 1991.[1]


Lifers Group grew out of the Lifers Group Juvenile Awareness Program, a youth crime prevention program founded in East Jersey State Prison in 1976 and made famous by the documentary Scared Straight![2] Maxwell Melvins, who was transferred to the prison in 1987 and became involved with the Juvenile Awareness Program, proposed the idea of using music as a means of outreach and fundraising for the program in 1991.[1][3]

The group's music industry career began when Melvins contacted producer David Funken Klein, the newly appointed head of Disney Music Group's rap subsidiary Hollywood Basic. Lifers Group's Lifers Group EP became Hollywood Basic's inaugural release in 1991, accompanied by a short documentary, Lifers Group World Tour: Rahway Prison, That's It, directed by Penelope Spheeris and released by Hollywood Basic on videocassette.[4]

Lifers Group World Tour: Rahway Prison, That's It was nominated for a 1992 Grammy Award for Best Long Form Music Video, but Melvins and the group's other members were disallowed by prison officials from attending the ceremony.[5]



  • 1993: Living Proof

Singles & EPs[edit]

  • 1991: Lifers Group
  • 1991: #66064 EP
  • 1991: Belly Of The Beast / The Real Deal
  • 1991: Real Deal / Lesson 4
  • 1991: The Real Deal
  • 1993: Jack U. Back (So You Wanna Be A Gangsta) / Living Proof (Remix)
  • 1993: Short Life Of A Gangsta

See also[edit]

  • The Escorts – R&B group formed at East Jersey State Prison (then Rahway State Prison) in 1970

Further reading[edit]

  • Christgau, Robert (2000). "Lifers Group". Christgau's Consumer Guide: Albums of the '90s. Macmillan. ISBN 0312245602.


  1. ^ a b "Theater of the Resist: The Escorts and Lifers Group". Metropolitan Museum of Art. 31 August 2017. Retrieved 4 June 2018.
  2. ^ Holden, Stephen. "The Pop Life". New York Times. Retrieved 4 June 2018.
  3. ^ Span, Paula (30 May 1991). "BEHIND BARS TAKING THE RAP". Washington Post. Retrieved 4 June 2018.
  4. ^ "Disney's Rap Label Shows Conviction". Chicago Tribune. Los Angeles Daily News. 28 March 1991. Retrieved 4 June 2018.
  5. ^ Lynch, Colum (25 February 1992). "Inmates Take Rap--to the Grammys". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 4 June 2018.