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University of Georgia School of Law

Evidence

2007

Articles 1 - 1 of 1

Full-Text Articles in Law

Poetic (In)Justice? Rap Music Lyrics As Art, Life, And Criminal Evidence, Andrea L. Dennis Jan 2007

Poetic (In)Justice? Rap Music Lyrics As Art, Life, And Criminal Evidence, Andrea L. Dennis

Scholarly Works

Courts routinely admit defendant-authored rap music lyrics as substantive evidence in the adjudication of criminal cases. In doing so, courts fail to recognize that rap music lyrics are art. Rather, judges view the interpretation of rap music lyrics as a subject of common knowledge, interpret the defendant's lyrics literally, and characterize lyrics as autobiographical depictions of actual events. In making admissibility decisions, courts must give consideration to the social constraints and artistic conventions impacting the composition and interpretation of rap music lyrics. More particularly, they must understand the commercialized nature of the rap music industry, artist claims of authenticity ...