Best “First Day Out” Tracks In Hip Hop

“First Day Out” tracks have long been a staple of Hip Hop culture. Starting as far back as Violent J (of the ICP duo)’s 1991 contribution, artists have been emerging from prison and jail with a renewed vigor and outlook on life. In some cases, this initially presents itself with a kickass rap track. As a result, the days before or after a rapper is released from behind bars is widely anticipated. While not every free rapper takes this route, the ones that have made sure to come out swinging. Here’s a list of some of the best “First Day Out” Hip Hop tracks. 

Read More: Rappers Who Have Received Lengthy Prison Sentences

“JT First Day Out” – JT (City Girls)

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When the City Girls dropped “JT First Day Out,” it was the perfect cherry to top off a long year of excellent tracks, despite the rude interruption of prison time. JT had just returned after serving 28 months in prison for credit card fraud charges. On the track, JT expressed her determination to keep blazing on no matter what.

“I been a real bitch way before the fed case / Yung Miami held me down, that’s a bitch ace / And if a bitch try her, it’s a cold case,” she rapped. Yung Miami had remarkably made sure that the duo’s momentum and dominance on the Billboard charts remained unchanged. She kept the City Girls running, working with big-time artists, particularly Cardi B and French Montana.

“First Day Out” – Kodak Black

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Kodak’s “First Day Out” is a lesson on humility- or at least the futility of it. This is with the consideration that not many formerly incarcerated people can confidently repeat lines like “Gave my momma hunnid racks” on the first day of their release. It was almost a tell-all of his feelings and experiences while in jail, from allegedly concealing drugs in his cell during his incarceration to planning a comeback.

That was my twelfth time going to jail/ That was my second time going to hell and back,” he spat. The rapper was released on June 5, 2017  after serving nearly a month of his 364-day sentence. He was locked up for a parole violation from a series of 2016 convictions. Unfortunately, the song was still hot on the streets when Kodak racked up another round of felony charges across South Carolina. These include an alleged sexual assault, multiple gun charges, and a house arrest violation.

Read More: Kodak Black Quietly Charged With Possession Of Oxycodone: Report

“California Love” – Tupac

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“California Love” was Tupac’s triumphant re-entry into society following his release from prison in 1995. It remains one of the most successful First Day Out tracks ever. He had spent the previous eight months incarcerated at the Clinton Correctional Facility on contested sexual abuse charges. Pac, however, maintained his innocence and was released pending an appeal. Although he was released to what would sadly be the countdown to the end of his life, his talent remained, expectedly, unmatched. 

Out on bail, fresh outta jail, California dreamin’!” is still an iconic song opening to this day. In fact, it still resonates on highways, and in clubs today. In the song, Pac pays homage to his beloved West Coast and California, from Sacramento to the Bay Area and beyond. The song also features producer-rapper Dr. Dre, and singer Roger Troutman with his signature ‘talk box’ vocal effects.

“First Day Out” – Tee Grizzley

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In October 2016, Tee Grizzley was released from a Michigan prison. That very day, he recorded a song and bared his whole heart into it, and it changed his life. Three years before, he had found himself in hot water with the law after a failed jewelry heist in Kentucky. Coupled with that was a series of alleged home break-ins, which bagged him three years in the slammer. Unlike the other artists on this list, however, Tee Grizzlley was not a known name in the industry at the time of his incarceration.

On November 16, 2016, Tee Grizzley dropped “First Day Out,” one of the most memorable tracks in his discography. The single was released one month after he served time, and was marketed as his debut single. He was notably quite emotional on the song, rapping about his struggles, and what it felt like to fight for his life in court. While the track garnered momentum, an unofficial shoutout from LeBron James boosted the song’s popularity.

James made a video dancing to the track, which kicked off the “LeBron James Challenge,” where people copied the athlete’s moves in their videos. Tee Grizzley also received a shoutout from Jay-Z and was signed by Atlantic Records in 2017. Luckily, besides a small hiccup in August 2018, when he got arrested for breaking curfew, he’s managed to stay out of trouble since then. Instead, he’s focused on his music and his new career as a Twitch streamer.

“First Day Out” – Gucci Mane

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A king among others, Gucci Mane’s “First Day Out” is what many other tracks aspire to be. Released as a part of his Writing On The Wall mixtape, the track came out in 2009. Throughout these years, it remains the gold standard for First Day Out tracks. Before his sentencing, Gucci Mane found himself in a long string of legal troubles that almost seemed too much for one man. 

In 2005, he faced an aggravated assault charge for an incident involving a nightclub manager the previous year. Then, he narrowly escaped a murder charge for his involvement in a shooting tied to a member of Jeezy‘s crew, Pookie Loc. To worsen the situation, Gucci Mane kept violating his probation. Finally, he got sent to county jail for six months for all his probation violations. 

The year was 2008, and his career was bigger than it had ever been before. However, when Gucci came back into the sunlight, he recorded “First Day Out.” The song showed how jail had only given him time to sharpen his lyricism. He would later release another acclaimed first day out track in 2016: “1st Day Out Tha Feds.” Nonetheless, everyone agrees that the original is where it’s actually at.

Read More: Forgot About Wop: In Gucci Mane’s Defense

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