Music producer David Jassy says a magical thing happened while producing a mixtape inside San Quentin State Prison — rival gang members found common ground in their love for music.
The award-winning producer, and ex-inmate at San Quentin, joined us Friday on “TMZ Live” to download us on his groundbreaking achievement, a 17-track mixtape written, recorded and produced inside one of America's most notorious prisons.
David says the project, dubbed “San Quentin Mixtape, Vol. 1,” quickly brought together members from rival sets within the highly-segregated prison.
When he started making beats on akeyboard inside his cell, David says he noticed inmates from different gangs congregating outside — a super rare occurrence for any prison, let alone San Quentin.
David seized on the opportunity and ran with it … pairing rival gang members on the same tracks to further boost camaraderie and ease years of tensions.
In the end, David managed to get 17 different inmates to rap about their struggles behind bars without using profanity, while teaching them the ins and outs of the music industry, production and artistry.
The end result goes way beyond creating a record — as David told us the inmates learned valuable skills they can use in the future. In other words … true prison reform.
The mixtape dropped Friday on all streaming platforms … and as we first reported, David already got a huge shout out from Kim Kardashian, who had visited him at San Quentin before Governor Gavin Newsom commuted his sentence just a couple months ago.
It's a pretty cool look behind the music … and David tells us how the inmates are paying it forward since, legally, they can't get paid for their work on the record.