Prosecuting Rap

Criminal justice and UK Black youth expressive culture.

Rap music is now regularly used as evidence in criminal proceedings. Prosecutors try to get rap lyrics and videos with violent, criminal themes made by defendants admitted to trial; police officers then take the stand to interpret the rap for the jury. This evidence, which calls forth stereotypes about young black men, often goes uncontested by defence.

Drawing onQuinn’s research on gangsta rap, the Prosecuting Rap projectintervenes in this unfair practice, building capacity and knowledge among rap experts and defence lawyers so that inflammatory rap evidence can be fully scrutinized and, where it lacks probative value, excluded from trial.

Partnering with lawyers, musicians, campaign groups, and journalists, this project seeks to prevent rap being a pathway to unfair conviction and overrepresentation of young black men in the criminal justice system.

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