Saturday, June 28, 2014

Rap Lyrics Uesed as Evidence In Court

I don't usually write about Rap music, because I don't really listen to it.  Not because I don't like some of it, but because it does not usually reflect the reality of my life, they way Blues, R&B, Soul, Country, Jazz and Folk music do.

To be honest, a lot of  it seems to come from an angry place, and life is too short to be listening to music that makes you feel angry.  But the same can be, and has been said about blues music. Rock music and even country music. I going to admit, that it really comes down to the fact that I do not understand most of the new Rap music.

This article from PBS Newshour got me thinking about Rap music lyrics. Rap Lyrics Used As Evidence of Intent in Criminal Cases describes how prosecutors are using Rap lyrics to convict Rappers of violent crimes.

And it got me to thinking about some of the other art forms where authors and musicians sing songs about murder and other crimes.

I wanted to leave the comment on the article;

I wonder what would happen if George RR Martin was accused of a brutal murder.  I wonder if anyone would believe that because he writes popular violent fiction that he is capable of committing those kinds of crimes?
But they wanted me to give them too much information, just to leave a comment so I thought I would write this blog post.  Feel free to comment below.

Part of me thinks that Rappers are easy targets, because (1) most of them are young black men, and (2) they sing about violence, and (3) many people really don't like Rap music.  And this means that it is easy to pin crimes on them.

But I also think that it is probably more complicated than that also, Rappers are singing and writing about their environments, where they live, where they grow up.  Some of it is autobiographical I am sure, and there is much of it that is exaggeration, bragging and just down right make believe.

So I think that it is important that those who use music, or any art, as evidence should make sure that they really understand it.  That they are not just taking advantage of a group of musicians, because it is easy to scapegoat them.



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