torsdag den 27. marts 2014

Lyriske tilståelser II

Lyriske tilståelser I er (min anmeldelse af ) Yahya Hassan - her klip fra en artikel i dagens New York Times:

Legal Debate on Using Boastful Rap Lyrics as a Smoking Gun

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — The case had gone cold. 
Four years after the 2007 murders of Christopher Horton, 16, and Brian Dean, 20, detectives here had little to go on.

No suspects. No sign of the gun used to shoot the men. No witnesses to the shooting outside a house where officers found Mr. Horton sprawled next to a trash can and Mr. Dean on the front porch.
But in 2011, the case was reassigned to a detective who later came across what he considered a compelling piece of evidence: a YouTube video of Antwain Steward, a local rapper with the stage name Twain Gotti, performing his song “Ride Out.”
“But nobody saw when I [expletive] smoked him,” Mr. Steward sang on the video. “Roped him, sharpened up the shank, then I poked him, 357 Smith & Wesson beam scoped him.”
Mr. Steward denies any role in the killings, but the authorities took the lyrics to be a boast that he was responsible and, based largely on the song, charged him last July with the crimes.
Today, his case is one of more than three dozen prosecutions in the past two years in which rap lyrics have played prominent roles. The proliferation of cases has alarmed many scholars and defense lawyers, who say that independent of a defendant’s guilt or innocence, the lyrics are being unfairly used to prejudice judges and juries who have little understanding that, for all its glorification of violence, gangsta rappers are often people who have assumed over-the-top and fictional personas.

In the profane world of hardcore rap, verisimilitude is prized. Growing out of the housing projects and ghettos on the West Coast in the 1980s, gangsta rap made the gritty reality of gangs, violence and drugs central features.
And law enforcement took note. In a 2006 article distributed to prosecutors, an F.B.I. analyst recommended looking for rap lyrics when searching homes and jail cells because of their potential as leads.
Mr. Jackson, who investigated gangs as a prosecutor, said such lyrics can be useful in building a case, because the search for status — attaining it, crowing about it, expanding it — is integral to gang life. “If you listened to the songs,” he said, “you would literally hear gang members confessing to crimes they had committed previously and were disseminating it within the neighborhood.”
In New York, detectives monitor rap videos on YouTube to study the pecking order on the streets and grudges between gangs that might have spurred crimes.
Most rappers charged in recent cases have been amateur performers who aspire to fame, even though gangsta rap is no longer as popular as it was, having been supplanted by more mainstream party music.
Critics like Andrea L. Dennis, an associate professor of law at the University of Georgia, say law enforcement ignores the fact that rappers do not necessarily live the lives they sing about.
Rick Ross, for example, took his stage name from a West Coast drug kingpin of the 1980s, Freeway Rick Ross. When he broke through as a performer in 2006, his streetwise image and rhymes about the Miami gangster lifestyle seemed like references to a shady past. In reality, he had once been a corrections officer.

A brief filed in the Skinner case by the New Jersey chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union turns to “Crime and Punishment” and “Folsom Prison Blues” to make a similar point. “That a rap artist wrote lyrics seemingly embracing the world of violence is no more reason to ascribe to him a motive and intent to commit violent acts than to saddle Dostoyevsky with Raskolnikov’s motives or to indict Johnny Cash for having ‘shot a man in Reno just to watch him die.’ ”

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