Rap on Trial

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 15 Nov 2019

Member Reviews

I wanted to give this four stars because the content is so important. I really feel that people need to be reading this book, especially young black men. Society isn't fair and what you are posting online will be used against you. However, I felt the author repeated himself a bit much. He was trying to pound in the important stuff but it was repetitive. The book is well researched and I think the real cases with names will help people understand that this is really happening. I will be recommending this book!

I would like to thank Netgalley and the author for providing me a copy of this book for review
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The author's painstaking research and attention to detail is obvious in the writing of this book.  The author laid out the information in a manner that allowed the reader to form their own opinion.
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Erik Nielson's and Andrea Dennis's book, "Rap on Trial", exposes the bias against people of color in the justice system through the lens of the music industry.  As the publisher's synopsis states, "Should Johnny Cash have been charged with murder after he sang, “I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die”? Few would seriously subscribe to this notion of justice. Yet in 2001, a rapper named Mac whose music had gained national recognition was convicted of manslaughter after the prosecutor quoted liberally from his album Shell Shocked."  This synopsis perfectly encapsulates the injustice you gain to learn about from reading this book.

This book provides analysis of this practice, including how prosecutors have found loopholes to rules prohibiting the use of an art form to characterize defendants.  It was an enlightening but infuriating read.  I highly recommend this book, but caution you that you may come away with extremely high-blood pressure afterwards.

Thank you to Erik Nielson, Andrea Dennis, The New Press, and NetGalley for allowing me access to an electronic advanced reader copy of this book for me to read and review.  As always, all opinions are my own.
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Thank you NetGalley for the ARC of Rap on Trial by Erik Nielson that I read and reviewed.
This is on of those books that is a slap in the face of reality that a lot of people are not going to want to read or want to believe but it is what is going on in our country and it has been for a long time. I fell in love with Gangster Rap when I was a young girl in Sunday School and the teacher told us if we listened to that music we would go to hell. I hated Sunday School so I figured I was already on my way there so I talked my mom into taking my to the record store and I bought some N.W.A., Public Enemy and anything else I could find with that “bad lyrics” sticker on it. I was hooked. A young white girl from the country blasting rap music got some strange looks so I could just imagine how life was for the men and women who get targeted for their music taste.
Just reading this book makes me so mad on so many levels. As a former journalist I hate how people freedom of speech is violated in so many cases this book talks about. It makes me sick that no one sees how stupid they are for using music as a way to convict men of crimes. It makes me wonder when the day will come when an actor or an author will be jailed for what they have done? Has society become that narrow minded that they can’t see beyond someone’s music taste?
This book is a book that should be read by all jurors in big cities who sit on trials that may have a case that will get introduced rap into it. Society should be educated about and how weak and flawed it is. I was not aware how often rap was put on trial until I read this book. I knew they tried to bane it. Education is the key and this book is a great start.
Rap on Trial gets four out of five stars from me.
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