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Rap on Trial : Race, Lyrics, and Guilt in America.

Author: Erik Nielson
Publisher: La Vergne : The New Press, 2019.
Edition/Format:   eBook : Document : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
A groundbreaking expose about the alarming use of rap lyrics as criminal evidence to convict and incarcerate young men of color Should Johnny Cash have been charged with murder after he sang, "I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die"' Few would seriously subscribe to this notion of justice. Yet in 2001, a rapper named Mac whose music had gained national recognition was convicted of manslaughter after the  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Electronic books
Additional Physical Format: Print version:
Nielson, Erik.
Rap on Trial : Race, Lyrics, and Guilt in America.
La Vergne : The New Press, ©2019
Material Type: Document, Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource, Computer File
All Authors / Contributors: Erik Nielson
ISBN: 1620973413 9781620973417
OCLC Number: 1124607477
Description: 1 online resource (223 pages)
Contents: Intro; Foreword; Introduction; 1 Hip Hop: From the Margins to the Mainstream; 2 Rap Enters the Courtroom; 3 Lyrics, Stereotypes, and Bias; 4 What About the First Amendment?; 5 Aggressive Prosecutors and Untrained Experts; 6 Surveillance, Suppression, and the Rise of Gang Units; Conclusion; Epilogue; Acknowledgments; Notes; Index

Abstract:

A groundbreaking expose about the alarming use of rap lyrics as criminal evidence to convict and incarcerate young men of color Should Johnny Cash have been charged with murder after he sang, "I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die"' Few would seriously subscribe to this notion of justice. Yet in 2001, a rapper named Mac whose music had gained national recognition was convicted of manslaughter after the prosecutor quoted liberally from his album Shell Shocked. Mac was sentenced to thirty years in prison, where he remains. And his case is just one of many nationwide. Over the last three decades, as rap became increasingly popular, prosecutors saw an opportunity: they could present the sometimes violent, crime-laden lyrics of amateur rappers as confessions to crimes, threats of violence, evidence of gang affiliation, or revelations of criminal motive'and judges and juries would go along with it. Detectives have reopened cold cases on account of rap lyrics and videos alone, and prosecutors have secured convictions by presenting such lyrics and videos of rappers as autobiography. Now, an alarming number of aspiring rappers are imprisoned. No other form of creative expression is treated this way in the courts. Rap on Trial places this disturbing practice in the context of hip hop history and exposes what's at stake. It's a gripping, timely exploration at the crossroads of contemporary hip hop and mass incarceration.

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