Join the Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library for a virtual discussion of the book Rap on Trial: Race, Lyrics, and Guilt in America with co-author Andrea L. Dennis.
Over the last three decades, as rap became increasingly popular, prosecutors saw an opportunity: they could present the sometimes violent, crime-laden lyrics of amateur rappers as confessions to crimes, threats of violence, evidence of gang affiliation, or revelations of criminal motive—and judges and juries would go along with it. Detectives have reopened cold cases on account of rap lyrics and videos alone, and prosecutors have secured convictions by presenting such lyrics and videos of rappers as autobiography. Now, an alarming number of aspiring rappers are imprisoned. No other form of creative expression is treated this way in the courts. Rap on Trial places this disturbing practice in the context of hip hop history and exposes what’s at stake. It’s a gripping, timely exploration at the crossroads of contemporary hip hop and mass incarceration.
Andrea L. Dennis joined the University of Georgia School of Law faculty in 2010 and was appointed to the John Byrd Martin Chair of Law in 2019. Her scholarship explores criminal defense lawyering, race and criminal justice, criminal informants and cooperators, youth advocacy, legal socialization of youth and the cradle-to-prison pipeline.
The event will be livestreamed to the Special Collections Libraries Facebook page on Wednesday February 10, 2021 at 7:00PM and will be moderated by Research & Instruction Librarian Patrice Green.