Kenyon Alum Brendan O’Connor on Rap Lyrics and Court Trials

By C. F. Collison

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Earlier this week, Kenyon alumnus and Noisey contributor Brendan O’Connor ’12 wrote a feature detailing the history of rap lyrics being used in court trials against their authors.

O’Connor received input from various noteworthy scholars on the issue, who commented on the criminal justice system, the nature of authenticity in rap lyrics, and legal prejudice against black performers. O’Connor also spoke with rapper Killer Mike, who performed at Kenyon’s own Horn Gallery in 2012 and is currently one-half of Run The Jewels, the recently lauded moniker he performs under along with rapper / producer El-P. A portion of the article is included below:

“Put another way: the creative output of black and brown people—and especially young, poor, black and brown men—is not being treated by the US government as protected speech. ‘The prejudice is there; hip-hop is just being used as a way to apply the prejudice. It is hip-hop today, it was jazz 80 years ago, it was rock and roll when Little Richard was around,” Michael Render, a.k.a. Killer Mike, told me… “The most dangerous thing is not the active participation in a racist system… but the very real and very scary thing is the apathy by the general American public that is the same racial makeup of the leaders of these groups.'”

Read Brendan O’Connor’s article here and check out his other work at his home page.

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