Hosted by poet and broadcaster Lady Unchained, Free Flow lets prisoners phone in their raps – and one has even recorded a single. We go behind the scenes of the show, which is up for three awards.

“It’s your girl, Lady Unchained, and you’re listening to Free Flow – the instrumental show where we play the beat twice so you can get your bars right!”

It’s a rainy Thursday afternoon and I’ve just arrived at the secret London location of one of the homes of National Prison Radio (NPR) (the others being inside the walls of nearby HMP Brixton, and inside HMP Styal in Cheshire). Lady Unchained, an award-winning poet, author and broadcaster, is sitting in a soundproof room on the other side of a glass window recording her show Free Flow. Like all broadcasts from NPR, it is only available to residents of His Majesty’s prisons.

Every week, a selection of hip-hop instrumentals is played for listeners up and down the country to practise their poetry and rapping from their cells. Lady Unchained also offers advice and tips on how to build a crime-free future using the power of creativity, lyrics and positivity. Listeners can call up and rap into an answering machine, which she plays back and gives feedback on. Over the last six years, the show has gained thousands of fans who have found connection and catharsis through the artistic process.

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