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Prosecuting rap: what does the case law tell us?

Owusu-Bempah, Abenaa ORCID: 0000-0001-6674-0018 (2022) Prosecuting rap: what does the case law tell us? Popular Music, 41 (4). 427 - 445. ISSN 0261-1430

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Identification Number: 10.1017/S0261143022000575


This article explores the admissibility and use of rap music as evidence in English criminal trials. It presents findings from an analysis of over 30 appeal cases. As well as unpacking the link between rap, race and gangs that is prevalent in these cases, the article challenges the categorisation of rap as ‘bad character evidence’, and critiques the way in which questions of relevance and prejudicial effect have been addressed by the courts. In particular, when making admissibility decisions, the courts appear to give little consideration to the cultural context, artistic conventions or social influences within the rap music genre, or the racialised nature of rap evidence. It is argued that, if rap is to be admissible evidence, a much more rigorous and informed approach is required.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2022 The Author.
Divisions: Law
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music
K Law
Date Deposited: 12 Sep 2022 13:27
Last Modified: 24 May 2024 07:21

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