The Extremes of Rap on Trial: An Analysis of the Movement to Ban Rap Lyrics as Evidence

The Extremes of Rap on Trial: An Analysis of the Movement to Ban Rap Lyrics as Evidence, 95 INDIANA L.J. THE SUPPLEMENT 1 (2020).

17 Pages Posted: 22 May 2020

Date Written: January 2020

Abstract

This Article is a review of Rap on Trial: Race, Lyrics, and Guilt in America. The book largely focuses on the dangers of allowing rap lyrics to be presented as evidence in criminal trials. The authors posit that the fictitious and hyperbolic nature of rap lyrics are misrepresented by prosecutors as autobiographical confessions that document illegal activity and violent character traits of defendants. The authors compare rap to other musical genres and conclude that racism is the underlying cause for why the genres are treated differently in court. The authors also advocate for evidence nullification and argue for a complete ban on all rap-related evidence at trial. This Article assesses both the strengths and weaknesses of the evidence presented to support these claims. Furthermore, this Article discusses pragmatic issues such as how the author’s advocacy for their more extreme proposals may be counterproductive to enacting their more reasonable proposals.

Keywords: Rap on Trial, Erik Nielson, Andrea L. Dennis, Rap lyrics, Song lyrics, Trial evidence, Evidence nullification, Jury nullification, Jamal Knox, Rap music discrimination, Ice-T Cop Killer, Who's Afraid of Rap, Elonis v. United States, rap shield, rap lyrics as evidence

Suggested Citation

Conklin, Michael, The Extremes of Rap on Trial: An Analysis of the Movement to Ban Rap Lyrics as Evidence (January 2020). The Extremes of Rap on Trial: An Analysis of the Movement to Ban Rap Lyrics as Evidence, 95 INDIANA L.J. THE SUPPLEMENT 1 (2020)., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3585679

Michael Conklin (Contact Author)

Angelo State University ( email )

2601 W. Avenue N
San Angelo, TX 76909
United States

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