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System of a Down: Prison Song Meaning

Song Released: 2001


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Prison Song Lyrics

They’re trying to build a prison
They’re trying to build a prison
Following the rights movement
You clamped on with your iron fists
Drugs became conveniently
Available for all the kids
Following the rights movement
You clamped on with your...

  1. 1TOP RATED

    #1 top rated interpretation:
    AndrewSoGreat
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    Dec 23rd 2005 report

    "Following the rights movement you clamped down with your iron fist," This is referring to the Civil Rights Movement of 1968.

    "Drugs become conveniantly availible for all the kids." This is about to how drugs are easily availible for America's youth.

    "I buy my crack, I smack my bitch, right here in Hollywood." This is about how Hollywood, and America is corrupted and filled with Felony and Drugs.

    It gives information on how there are nearly 2 million Americans in the prison system.

    The chorus is about how the prison system is filling up with petty law-breakers and minor drug offenders resulting in them building more prisons "for you and me to live in."

    "Minor drug offenders fill your prisons you don't even flinch," This is talking about how minor dug offenders fill up the prison system when they should fill the prison system with more serious criminals.

    "All our taxes paying for your wars against the new non-rich." This is about how tax money is used by the government to pay for wars, but the wars do not involve the rich.

    Nowadays in the corrupted world, about 10 years ago in 1985 there were half the people in the prison system and it was less corrupted back then.

    The 3rd verse is about how drug research shows that treatment should be increased and we should do away with minimum sentences.

    Drugs are used to pay for secret wars and are the global policy that the government relies on for the wars. Drugs control the world.

    Drug money turns into taxes and is used to rig the elections of corporate dictators.

  2. 2TOP RATED

    #2 top rated interpretation:
    SOAD4lyfe234
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    Apr 4th 2006 report

    Written by Serj Tankian and Daron Malakian, the song deals with various injustices within the United States prison system. The song expresses the belief that the government is responsible for the spread of inner city drugs and the abundance of homelessness. Though the song is mostly sung by Tankian, a few lines preceding the chorus are sung by Malakian, who mocks, "I buy my crack, my smack, my bitch right here in Hollywood", a reference to the rap lifestyle. The song was released as an unofficial airplay-only single, and a promotional live video of the song was released.

  3. 3TOP RATED

    #3 top rated interpretation:
    anonymous
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    May 23rd 2007 report

    System of a down are tired of prisons being filled with people who have a little weed on them.

  4. anonymous
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    Nov 8th 2019 report

    it critisizes the United States prison structure
    ... boom revelation!

  5. anonymous
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    May 29th 2013 report

    In my opinion. It's about the new world order. Drugs "open your mind" by allowing the ppl to have connected thoughts they can easily turn the world into what they want. Tv to rake in money. Control using stereotypes. "kill" people who stand out by war of others. Like the saying the nail that sticks out gets hammered. They're trying to build a prison by drugs and the "open mind" -killuminati

  6. anonymous
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    Dec 27th 2012 report

    I agree with everyone 100% But i have another theory of what it is also aiming at, its just an idea so no one freak out but when i hear the part
    "I buy my crack, i smack my bitch right here in holly wood"
    I get the impression that they also mean their are tons of celebrities doing drugs that aren't even secretive to the public and they never get sent to jail or are in jail for like a month if that and celebrities get all the help you could possibly get or none at all but are still pardoned for dong it. But as far as being an average citizen they generally get screwed on such things. that's just what i got out of it as well as everything else said above my idea.

  7. anonymous
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    Oct 10th 2011 report

    I think it's about how pissed off they are that people with minor drug charges are going to prison instead of rehab, when there are more dangerous criminals out there.

  8. Awesomedude
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    Aug 2nd 2010 report

    Serj, Daron, Shavo, and John think its cruel that people in jail don't go for having weed.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  9. anonymous
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    Jul 30th 2009 report

    Ok, the line is "I buy my crack, my smack, my bitch.
    Smack is referring to heroin, not actually smacking a bitch

  10. anonymous
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    Feb 9th 2009 report

    Idk about you guys but i think the reason why the government isnt actually treating the drug problem is because they are in on it, i can almost guarantee that somebody in the government is responsible for the drugs. In a Kottonmouth Kings song they say "uncle same is slinging sacks behind our backs" i pretty much have to agree that the govt is this corrupt and look for any way to make a buck.

  11. anonymous
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    Oct 7th 2008 report

    This is the easiest song in the world to interpret because the lyrics say it straight up. The entire song is basically saying that instead of putting non-violent offenders in prison (specifically drug offenders in the case of this song) that they should be given treatment. Another issue is that drugs can be so easily bought and sold right here in America; "I buy my crack I smack my bitch right here in Hollywood!" Also, they are saying that the governments, not just ours but all over the world, are actually benefitting from drug money. I mean seriously, the lyrics "Utilising drugs to pay for secret wars around the world
    Drugs are now your global policy now you police the globe" and "Drug money is used to rig elections
    And train brutal corporate sponsored dictators
    Around the world" are right there! Their shouldn't even be a need for this song to be interpreted.

  12. RideTheWings
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    May 21st 2008 report

    This song is about the errors in law enforcement of drugs

    "Following the rights movement
    "You clamped on with your iron fists
    Drugs became conveniently
    Available for all the kids"

    When drugs became illegal
    They became available through drug dealers
    And they're easy to get

    "I buy my crack, I smack my bitch
    Right here in hollywood"

    The rich get drugs and if they were
    to get caught the punishments
    can be bought off

    "(nearly 2 million americans are
    Incarcerated in the prison system
    Prison system of the us)"

    example statistic of minor drug offenders
    filling prisons

    "They’re trying to build a prison
    They’re trying to build a prison
    They’re trying to build a prison
    (for you and me to live in)
    Another prison system
    Another prison system
    Another prison system
    (for you and me to live in)"

    They're trying to solve all of the
    drug (and possibly other) problems
    by throwing drug users/sellers
    in prison



    "Minor drug offenders fill your prisons
    You don’t even flinch
    All our taxes paying for your wars
    Against the new non-rich"

    All our tax dollars are going to fund
    prisons for minor drug offenders who
    shouldn't be in there but most people
    are ignorant/apathetic about it

    "All research and successful drug policy show
    That treatment should be increased"

    We should be putting drug offenders
    in rehab but we put them in jail

    "And law enforcement decreased
    While abolishing mandatory minimun sentences"

    Less taxpayer money goes towards law enforcement
    When minor drug offenders are not put in prison

    "Utilising drugs to pay for secret wars around the world
    Drugs are now your global policy now you police the globe"

    Since drugs are on the black market they can't
    be controlled by the US government so we have
    to stop it in other countries to stop it over here
    so now we "police the globe" (kinda like the war now)
    and it would probably be more easily controlled in our
    country if it wasn't illegal in the first place

    "Drug money is used to rig elections
    And train brutal corporate sponsored dictators
    Around the world"

    Since drugs are illegal it kind of has the prohibition
    effect. The money isn't going to taxes or the economy
    its going through the black market to the mob and
    dictators and creating organized crime

  13. crackSmOkinAssDouche
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    Dec 28th 2006 report

    ok same thing as above but most people caught with drugs are repeat offenders and so its just a growing, ongoing cycle and they need to waste money on more and more prisons because they arent solving the real problem.....they need to put them through rehab to actually cure they're addictions or any other problems they have.

  14. crackSmOkinAssDouche
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    Dec 28th 2006 report

    its about how people using drugs need rehab and that a large percentage of them are repeat offenders because they never got real help......he says they need to get rid of mandatory minimum sentences because just sending them away to prison is NOT going to cure them and so they have to build more and more prisons because the people are addicted and keep doing the drugs so they are sent away again......sort of like an ongoing cycle

  15. Jordan70
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    Dec 6th 2006 report

    I agree with the post above it's about drug laws and corruption and how drug abusers should be put in rehab. I think more so it's about how the government makes drugs illegal and the CIA imports drugs so they can be sold on the black market for profit. This money is the government's "black budget", money that is untracked and they can use for secret wars around the world. Also, a lot of people don't know that prisoners work for corporations in prison. Company's pay prisons for cheap labor, which makes the government money, and keeps them from making drugs legal and helping people recover from addiction

  16. anonymous
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    Dec 6th 2006 report

    i agree with the dude from above...

    but also I think it means that the government is making deals with drug dealers to cut a share of their profit and making the sentances of the dealers lower. and the government is using that money to pay for secret wars around the world

  17. forsaken_angel
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    Oct 20th 2006 report

    I think that serj and daron are just expressing their feelings on the government. Saying that the government are not cracking down on solving the problem of drugs and are just building more and more prisons for a short cut way of dealing with it.
    The justice system and how it uses its money for useless causes. When the money could be going to better uses. The government is just jailing minor drug offenders so it looks like they're doing something about the drug problem.
    "drugs became conveniently
    available for all the kids...". This is jus saying that (as you know) that their are so many drug offers, even little kids are availible to do so.
    I have much respect for soad for writing this song (and many of their others too). Not only are they amazing musicians, but they have great political views. And write songs about real issues throughout the world. Hence their name. (but you all know that, lol)

  18. Soil6606
    click a star to vote
    Jun 28th 2006 report

    You stupid fucker.
    The lyrics flat out say it.
    Drug abusers/sellers are being put in prisons.
    When they should really be put in rehab.
    (all research and succesfull drug policy show that treatment should be increased***Rehab?***)
    (and law enforcement decreased while aboloshing manditory minimum sentences***Prison???***)

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