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Mars ILL - Inside Out
(from the album Backbreakonomics)
© copyright 2003

Verse 1:
Building in a cell block, shocked at the mystery/
Unlocked the misery kept inside his body's chemistry/
And when he's by himself, he has to cry to keep on living/
Reads letters from his children from far outside the prison/
And it isn't enough that he didn't pull that trigger/
Just a neighborhood fixture on the corner drinking liquor/
A two-time offender who got caught up in the moment/
Was close by when a robbery was operated sloppily/
And somebody got shot and son was fingered in the line-up/
Tossed into a 6x9, stuck because his time's up/
Fine luck, had to beat a brother on his first day/
To protect his own best interest in like the worst way/
Blames the system that built jails instead of schools/
Blames religion as a set of useless rules/
Blames his father that he never even knew/
Looks in the mirror. Yeah, he blames him too...

Verse 2:
He starts to read books, an empowered resolution/
Malcolm, Dr. King, Mumia and Huey Newton/
Learns that nothing worth having is ever gon' be easy/
He studies philosophy while everyone's watching TV/
And after 33 weeks, he starts to do the science/
Sees God's handwriting there underneath the fine print/
It had been there all along just waiting for him to find it/
But he'd been blinded by his time spent trying to fight it/
But the spark ignited the fuel inside him/
And now he holds the flame that burns the brightest/
Because the slightest touch from the heavens can heavily change the tides/
Or tip the scales to either side of the problems in our lives/
He found faith in a cage and his mind's already free/
And he can float through these walls far beyond what he can see/
He sees his cell as a cross that he'll carry if need be/
But of course his body wants to join his soul and be free...

Verse 3:
So he's a new man, motivated to slice through the hatred/
And radiate to those that play with death and want to take his breath/
He'll make each step count for something greater/
Understands that he can hate the game and still love the players/
He shares his cell with another one-strike-too-many-type of Jon Doe/
Who wants his rights back though/
The conversation words flow and get kind of thorough/
And it just so happens that they're from the same borough/
From the same neighborhood, from off the same freeway/
From the same ghetto and from the same PJ's/
And Jon Doe knows how his situation started/
How kids were busting shots at their local supermarket/
On that one fateful night that changed our hero's life/
And how he got knocked wrongfully and how it isn't right/
But strangely, our man is calm and doesn't lose sight/
He knows that he was broken so that he could find Christ/
And for that he's thankful, no shank pulled got him/
He's never felt so high while he was standing at the bottom/
And after six months, a judge heard his appeal/
Released into a city that becomes his mission field/
He pulls a free breath that feels fresh despite all the smog/
He used to hit the bottle but now he fights for God/
And since he's seen it all, he can say what it's about/
And to think this all started from the inside out...