Rap Music and the True Threats Quagmire: When Does One Man’s Lyric Become Another’s Crime?

Calvert, Clay; Morehart, Emma; Papadelias, Sarah

This Article examines the complex and unsettled state of the true threats doctrine through the lens of the equally complicated, controversial and multi- faceted musical genre of rap. Rap, although generally protected by the First Amendment, is frequently caught in the crosshairs of criminal prosecutions focusing on whether or not it constitutes a true threat of violence. Ultimately, this Article offers suggestions for how to clarify the doctrinal issues, with rap illustrating and supporting those ideas.


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July 23, 2015