The words you use can be read a dozen different ways: They can be funny and serious. Click a thumbnail or use the grid to move to a battle. Ostensibly, these lyrics are used to show that the defendant had either knowledge or intent, or to prove the commission of a crime. Rap's enigmatic nature has drawn both criticism and praise that runs the gamut. And he don't know ...That I dug my key into the sideOf his pretty little souped-up four-wheel drive,Carved my name into his leather seats ...I took a Louisville slugger to both headlights,Slashed a hole in all four tires ...Maybe next time he'll think before he cheats. When critiquing or analyzing rap music for its evidentiary value, both the judge and jury must go beyond the surface of the music they are listening to and endeavor to ascertain the underlying message the artist is striving to illustrate. [G]reat MCing is not just about filling in the meter of the song with rhythm and melody. They can be nakedly obvious and subliminally effective at the same time. As stated by Jay-Z in his memoir Decoded, As stated by Jay-Z in his memoir Decoded, [G]reat MCing is not just about filling in the meter of the song with rhythm and melody. The Delphic nature of rap music creates a proverbial Gordian knot for judges; how can a judge interpret rap lyrics, a form of art, in the same way that they interpret the Constitution, the foundation upon which the United States was built? His car has a wood grain interior and he grips Rap music, however, is scarcely afforded the luxury of a nonliteral interpretation of its lyrics. In practice, however, these lyrics are used to paint the defendant in a negative light with the hope that the jury will convict the defendant because of what he raps about instead of the evidence presented against him. Here you will find the meanings of the verses used in each battle. The art of rap is deceptive. They can be symbolic and literal. 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Robert Oppenheimer/Rap Meanings, Theodore Roosevelt vs Winston Churchill/Rap Meanings, Vlad the Impaler vs Count Dracula/Rap Meanings, Wonder Woman vs Stevie Wonder/Rap Meanings, When the contents of their music (which they claim embodies their personal experiences) is used against them, they must either defend their lyrics and inculpate themselves or denounce their "real" lifestyle and be derided as frauds in the rap community. Originally on good terms with one another, Tupac suspected that Biggie and Puffy were involved when he was shot outside of his Manhattan recording studio. Here you will find the meanings of the verses used in each battle. This negative impression marginalizes rap music, even though rap represents more than just prosecutorial evidence to many people. Expressive. Vernellia R. RandallProfessor Emerita of Law, The University of DaytonSchool of LawDayton, OH 45469-2772Email. For many artists, rap is not just a form of music, but also a rich collection of art spanning decades of culture, generations of growth, and an ever-increasing fan base. Unfortunately, rap music has also wormed its way into the courtroom. The questions I advance are these: when, if ever, can a rapper's lyrics be used to constitute a confession against him? In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Although the culture of rap has changed drastically, there are elements of the genre that remain from its roots. The majority of rap artists are generally lower-class black males who use music as an avenue to express the struggles of their everyday lives, including poverty and crime. When we debase the rap genre as wholly degenerate by using lyrics as evidence in criminal prosecutions, we negatively affect both the rapper-defendant in the courtroom, and the rap world outside of the courtroom. Rap on Trial: The Case for Nonliteral Interpretation of Rap Lyrics Become a Patron! Rap Lyrics Translation Demonstation Using Mike Jones " Still tippin' " Now its your turn!!! They're talking about real things you can hang on to, problems of identity that you have sympathy with. Despite sharing elements with other mediums of art, rap music has been prosecuted (as well as persecuted) for being "evil" and "malicious." Individuals who are experts in the rap genre vehemently disagree on what rap is and what it stands for; it boggles the mind to understand how judges--who are likely not specialists in lyrical interpretation, context, or the background and history of rap--can definitively decide rap lyrics contain even a scintilla of probative evidentiary value. While there are legitimate reasons to use rap lyrics as evidence in limited circumstances, there are arguably more reasons to exclude these lyrics and presume them as inadmissible in criminal prosecutions. Mike Jones has a nice car with fancy spoke rims and a hydraulic suspension system. Take your favorite fandoms with you and never miss a beat. section 107, some material on this website is provided for comment, background information, research and/or educational purposes only, without permission from the copyright owner(s), under the "fair use" provisions of the federal copyright laws. It has evolved from an underground movement popular in inner cities into something that reaches beyond the realm of music. Rap has influenced fashion and politics. Vernellia R. RandallFounder and EditorProfessor Emerita of LawThe University of Dayton School of Law. Although reasonable people can disagree, it is a fair assumption to believe Underwood didn't really knock out her significant other's headlights with a baseball bat. Excerpted from: Dre'Kevius O. Huff, Rap on Trial: The Case for Nonliteral Interpretation of Rap Lyrics, 5 Savannah Law Review 335 (2018) (226 Footnotes Omitted) (Full Document). While territorial rivalry was not uncommon in the rap community, this rivalry "blossomed into a dangerous vendetta between the east and west coast factions, stoked by lyrical provocations from Biggie (Who Shot Ya?) These lyrics are excerpted from the chart-topper "Before He Cheats" by Carrie Underwood. By courts using these lyrics in their most literal fashion, rap artists are not only having their own work used against them, but are effectively being silenced by having their platform for expression taken away. In a word, rap is entertainment. While beginning a law review Note about rap lyrics with lyrics from a country song may seem unconventional, there is a lesson to be learned here. Rap music, like any form of music, or any form of art, for that matter, is subject to the interpretation of the listener/viewer, but we must also consider the interpretation and intent of the writer (who often may not even be the rapper). The Color of Coronavirus: Covid-19 Deaths by Race and Ethnicity in the U.S. No Path to Redemption: Evaluating Texas's Practice of Sentencing Kids to De Facto Life Without Parole in Adult Prison, Trials: Influences on the Jury (2020 Update), “What Shall I Give My Children?”: Installment Land Contracts, Homeownership, and the Unexamined Costs of the American Dream, “Not as a Favor, Not as a Privilege, but as a Right”: Woman Suffragists, Race, Rights, and the Nineteenth Amendment, Black-Owned Banks: “Anchors of a Community”, Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Epic Rap Battles of History Wiki is a FANDOM Games Community. Savannah Law School, J.D., 2017; Georgia Southern University, B.S., Psychology, 2015. It's not just about the music, with rap ... it meant a whole lot more than that.". Paradoxes abound when rappers face criminal prosecution. These materials may not be distributed for other purposes without permission of the copyright owner(s). Generally, when average the person thinks about violent rap, their mind inevitably turns to the 90's and the vitriolic East Coast vs. West Coast feuds, headed by rap icons Biggie Smalls and Tupac Shakur. By convicting defendants based on their music lyrics, judges are unconsciously shaping the future of rap music by putting rappers on notice that their own livelihood could be turned against them in a courtroom. Rap music is like any other medium of expression we enjoy. Convicting potentially innocent defendants is not only repugnant to basic moral principles, but also to one of the paramount tenets of the criminal justice system, stating that it is "far worse to convict an innocent man than to let a guilty man go free." Then, browse other battles using the grid at the bottom of each page. From whom Carly Simon thought was so vain to why, exactly, the walrus was Paul, we strive to leave no lyric uninterpreted. This Note will also evaluate when these lyrics should be used, in what limited scope they should be used, and why rap artists would even bother using incriminating lyrics if they know there is a chance the lyrics could be used against them. and Tupac (Hit Em Up)." It seems so straightforward and personal and real that people read it completely literally, as raw testimony or autobiography. The Epic Rap Battles of History are often very clever in their use of lyrical wordplay to highlight each contestant's significance and draw clever humor from it, but for some viewers, it's not always easy to tell what the lyrics mean as they are used in battle.. Rap music, however, is scarcely afforded the luxury of a nonliteral interpretation of its lyrics. In general, the copyright owner is the author of the article. However, in recent years, courts have begun using these rap lyrics as damning evidence in criminal trials. The other ways that poets make words work is by giving them layers of meaning, so you can use them to get at complicated truths in a way that straightforward storytelling fails to do. Indeed, "rap music transformed into gansta' rap and became increasingly associated with violence when rappers Tupac Shakur and [Biggie Smalls] were murdered.". Click a thumbnail or use the grid to move to a battle. The Ivy League offers its esteemed interpretation on the ‘virtue and complexity’ of hip-hop lyrics. Songs in these genres are taken as music made by the artist and not statements made by the individual. Rap on Trial: The Case for Nonliteral Interpretation of Rap Lyrics, Myth, Manipulation, and Minor League Baseball: How a Capitalist Democracy Engenders Income Inequality, Intersectionality and Strengths and Challenges in Leadership, Thanksgiving: The National Day of Mourning; Text of 1970 Speech by Wampsutta, An Aquinnah Wampanoag Elder, An Experience of Race and Gender Climate in Academia, The Cruelty of Supermax Detention and the Case for a Hard-time Sentencing Discount: a Pragmatic Solution to a Moral Shortcoming, Criminal Procedure: Appeals (2020 Update), A Framework for Effective and Strategic Eviction Prevention, Review Proceedings: Habeas Relief for State Prisoners (2020 Update). Additionally, do the arguably marginal probative benefits of admitting these lyrics outweigh the evidentiary and policy interests of excluding them? However, like other forms of art, rappers must be allowed some measure of artistic license without every word, line, and verse being taken literally-- a liberty afforded to other genres of music. By admitting these lyrics, the notion that rap music is aggressive or violent (or any other adjectives used to devalue the genre) is further reinforced when fortified by the presence of a (usually gruesome) criminal prosecution. Step 6 Write your interpreted lyrics in paragraph form. As stated by Jay-Z in his memoir Decoded. This Note will consider the consequences of using rap artists' lyrics against them and the overwhelming prejudicial effect these lyrics have on juries. Critics bash rap music as profane; however, proponents recognize the social platform rap provides for the disenfranchised--profane lyrics and all. Race, Racism and the Law Vernellia R. Randall licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Exploring the meaning of songs from every genre of music. Genius is the world’s biggest collection of song lyrics and musical knowledge. Not every artist has personally experienced the events expressed in their lyrics. Ken Kaneki Lyrics: Un daron pète son câble, famille en pleine syncope / Quand les peines s'écopent, est-ce la faute de ces cops ? A rapper who witnesses a murder may choose to write lyrics that provide a first-person perspective of the murder, even though he did not personally pull the trigger. Trop beau Lyrics: J'avais jamais vu de nuit aussi calme, hey / J'la r'garde enchaîner les cigarettes, hey / Ses larmes coulent en silence, on entend toujours les cigales / On se blesserait même avec Because of this association with violence that rap now possessed, courts began to disregard the notion of artistic license afforded to other genres of music and instead condemned rap for its content. John Lennon vs Bill O'Reilly • Darth Vader vs Hitler • Abe Lincoln vs Chuck Norris • Sarah Palin vs Lady Gaga • Hulk Hogan and Macho Man vs Kim Jong-il • Justin Bieber vs Beethoven • Albert Einstein vs Stephen Hawking • Genghis Khan vs Easter Bunny • Napoleon vs Napoleon • Billy Mays vs Ben Franklin • Gandalf vs Dumbledore • Dr. Seuss vs Shakespeare • Mr. T vs Mr. Rogers • Christopher Columbus vs Captain Kirk • Nice Peter vs EpicLLOYD, Hitler vs Vader 2 • Master Chief vs Leonidas • Mario Bros vs Wright Bros • Michael Jackson vs Elvis Presley • Cleopatra vs Marilyn Monroe • Steve Jobs vs Bill Gates • Frank Sinatra vs Freddie Mercury • Barack Obama vs Mitt Romney • Doc Brown vs Doctor Who • Bruce Lee vs Clint Eastwood • Batman vs Sherlock Holmes • Moses vs Santa Claus • Adam vs Eve • Gandhi vs Martin Luther King Jr. • Nikola Tesla vs Thomas Edison • Babe Ruth vs Lance Armstrong • Mozart vs Skrillex • Rasputin vs Stalin, Hitler vs Vader 3 • Blackbeard vs Al Capone • Miley Cyrus vs Joan of Arc • Bob Ross vs Pablo Picasso • Michael Jordan vs Muhammad Ali • Donald Trump vs Ebenezer Scrooge • Rick Grimes vs Walter White • Goku vs Superman • Stephen King vs Edgar Allan Poe • Sir Isaac Newton vs Bill Nye • George Washington vs William Wallace • Artists vs TMNT, Ghostbusters vs Mythbusters • Romeo and Juliet vs Bonnie and Clyde • Zeus vs Thor • Jack the Ripper vs Hannibal Lecter • Oprah Winfrey vs Ellen DeGeneres • Steven Spielberg vs Alfred Hitchcock • Lewis and Clark vs Bill and Ted • David Copperfield vs Harry Houdini • Terminator vs Robocop • Eastern Philosophers vs Western Philosophers • Shaka Zulu vs Julius Caesar • Jim Henson vs Stan Lee, J. R. R. Tolkien vs George R. R. Martin • Gordon Ramsay vs Julia Child • Frederick Douglass vs Thomas Jefferson • James Bond vs Austin Powers • Bruce Banner vs Bruce Jenner • Alexander the Great vs Ivan the Terrible • Donald Trump vs Hillary Clinton • Ash Ketchum vs Charles Darwin • Wonder Woman vs Stevie Wonder • Tony Hawk vs Wayne Gretzky • Theodore Roosevelt vs Winston Churchill • Nice Peter vs EpicLLOYD 2, Freddy Krueger vs Wolverine • Guy Fawkes vs Che Guevara • Ronald McDonald vs The Burger King • George Carlin vs Richard Pryor • Jacques Cousteau vs Steve Irwin • Mother Teresa vs Sigmund Freud • Vlad the Impaler vs Count Dracula • The Joker vs Pennywise • Thanos vs J. Robert Oppenheimer• Donald Trump vs Joe Biden, Deadpool vs Boba Fett • Elon Musk vs Mark Zuckerberg, PewDiePie vs T-Series • Ronald McDonald vs The Burger King • Larry Bird vs Big Bird. Country, reggae, and rock, respectively, are not generally associated with violence. An escape. No one truly suspects Bob Marley shot the sheriff, or believes that Freddie Mercury killed a man. The Epic Rap Battles of History are often very clever in their use of lyrical wordplay to highlight each contestant's significance and draw clever humor from it, but for some viewers, it's not always easy to tell what the lyrics mean as they are used in battle. / Ou d'un système qui surveille dans l'œil du cyclone / Les plus Is this because of the less-than-wholesome topics--such as murder, gang violence, and drug use--that permeate to the core of today's rap music (even though, like other genres of music, the songs are simply an artistic use of metaphor and hyperbole by a rapper who, almost always, uses a stage name and adopts a fictional persona)? To quote actress Samantha Morton, "[R]ap music isn't just about guns and sexism.

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