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Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Criminal Law

2009

Series

University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law

Hip hop

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Full-Text Articles in Law

Thug Life: Hip Hop’S Curious Relationship With Criminal Justice, André Douglas Pond Cummings Jul 2009

Thug Life: Hip Hop’S Curious Relationship With Criminal Justice, André Douglas Pond Cummings

Faculty Scholarship

I argue that hip hop music and culture profoundly influences attitudes toward and perceptions about criminal justice in the United States. At base, hip hop lyrics and their cultural accoutrements turns U.S. punishment philosophy upon its head, effectively defeating the foundational purposes of American crime and punishment. Prison and punishment philosophy in the U.S. is based on clear principles of retribution and incapacitation, where prison time for crime should serve to deter individuals from engaging in criminal behavior. In addition, the stigma that attaches to imprisonment should dissuade criminals from recidivism. Hip hop culture denounces crime and punishment in the …