Exclusive: Former No Limit Rapper Mac Phipps On Clemency, Freedom : Louder Than A Riot After 21 years in prison, Mac Phipps has been recommended for clemency, which could mean early release. As we reported in our first season, Mac was convicted in 2001 of manslaughter, for a crime he has always said he did not commit. Now, we follow the former No Limit rapper as he navigates the clemency process — and for the first time, we get to talk with Mac himself. What does justice mean after he's spent half his life in prison? And does he plan to ever return to the stage?

21 Years and 1 Day: Mac Phipps (Exclusive)

21 Years and 1 Day: Mac Phipps (Exclusive)

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Mac Phipps Dale Edwin Murray for NPR hide caption

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Dale Edwin Murray for NPR

Mac Phipps

Dale Edwin Murray for NPR

The vote was unanimous. In a remote hearing held late in February, the Louisiana Board of Pardons and Committee on Parole recommended clemency for New Orleans rapper Mac Phipps.

In our first season, Louder Than A Riot reported on Mac's rise and fall, from breakout star on Master P's No Limit Records to convicted felon for a crime he says he didn't commit. Now, after 21 years in prison and one denied appeal after another, Mac has been granted a new hearing that could mean early — almost immediate — release. But what does justice look like when you've already spent half your life incarcerated?

On this bonus episode, we dive into the power dynamics at play throughout Mac's clemency hearing and examine how his hip-hop career continues to affect his image in the eyes of the law. Mac's wife, Angelique, and father, McKinley Sr., walk us through the clemency process and the years of damage the rapper's imprisonment has dealt to their family.

And finally, for the first time ever, we speak with Mac himself, who opens up about maintaining optimism, his regrets regarding the nightclub shooting for which he was convicted and future plans to return to music after his release.

To follow along with the music in this episode, check out the Louder Than A Riot playlists on Apple Music & Spotify. We'll update them every week.

To connect with us, follow the show on Twitter @LouderThanARiot, or send us an email at louder@npr.org.