Prosecutors are treating the lyrics as persuasive evidence of guilt. “Just because you put your confession to music doesn’t give you a free pass,” former Los Angeles County prosecutor Alan Jackson tells the Times. In a court case, a confession is often the closest thing to ironclad proof.
Rap lyrics themselves may be viewed as criminal. Two Pittsburgh men made a rap video deemed so hostile to police that they were convicted of issuing terrorist threats.
I imagine prosecutors have more to go on than rap lyrics alone, but it’s easy to see how, in these cases, rap is the new hoodie—a symbol of black male aggression. Rap is frequently viewed as threatening; listening to it is taken as a form of misbehavior to be corrected. Witness the case of Michael Dunn, the Florida man who murdered seventeen-year-old Jordan Davis and shot at Davis’s friends after they refused to turn down the “rap crap” they were blasting in their car. Dunn believed the teens were a danger to him. Would he have felt the same way had they been listening to the Beach Boys?
Well of course not. The Beach Boys were white and thus good boys with some bad fantasies maybe. But the black men, they are a threat to white women.
Of course I have no way to know whether the individual at the heart of this case is guilty or not. But his rap lyrics are beyond irrelevant.
Still, someone get Tipper Gore on Line 1, there is a threat to our nation’s youth on the march.