During his 2008 trial for a shooting that occurred in 2005, Vonte Skinner saw his amateur rap lyrics used as evidence against him. The lyrics had all been written before the shooting and, according to this editorial in the New York Times, witness testimony against him was not credible, but Skinner still got 30 years. An appellate court overturned his conviction on the grounds that his raps should not have been admitted as evidence, and next week the New Jersey supreme court will hear the state’s appeal. The case raises some interesting questions about how society perceives hip hop and young black man. As Nielson and Kubrin put it, “no other form of fictional expression is exploited this way in the courts.”
In answer to Willy’s question in the Friday Comments section: no, I was not aware that Rick Ross lost his Reebok sponsorship over his very rapey verse on the original UOENO. Fortunately, a quick Google search turned up this article from Billboard.com. Besides important information about what Rick Ross will do to your drink if you hang out with him, the article also contains a valuable lesson about misplaced modifiers. From the very first sentence:
After stirring up controversy for lyrics deemed pro-rape, Reebok has decided to end their partnership with Rick Ross.
Kombat! Kids take note: an initial dependent clause modifies the first noun after the comma. In the sentence above, Reebok has stirred up controversy for pro-rape lyrics. In reality, or at least in the portion of actuality covered by hip-hop, Rick Ross was the one who stirred up c for lyrics deemed p-r. Don’t go to the club with him, even though he is rich, because he will put MDMA in your champagne and then, when you become impaired, encourage you to engage in sexual intercourse that (yo)u (w)o(n’t) e(ve)n (kn)o(w) about. Also his head is essentially Lionel Richie’s head upside-down. This has been the news.