Rap (Ab)Used In Court

Manly, Lorne. “Legal Debate on using Boastful Rap Lyrics as a Smoking Gun.” New York Times, Late Edition (East Coast) ed.Mar 27 2014.  – Over three dozen prosecutions in the past two years in which rap lyrics have played prominent roles… The proliferation of cases has alarmed scholars and defense lawyers, who say that independent of a defendant’s guilt or innocence, the lyrics are being unfairly used to prejudice judges and juries who have little understanding that, for all its glorification of violence, gangsta rappers are often people who have assumed over-the-top and fictional personas.  “If you aspire to be a gangsta rapper, by definition your lyrics need to be violent,” said Charis E. Kubrin, an associate professor of criminology, law and society at the University of California, Irvine.

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