Rap Music and the True Threats Quagmire

How to Cite

Calvert, C., Morehart, E., & Papadelias, S. (2015). Rap Music and the True Threats Quagmire: When Does One Man’s Lyric Become Another’s Crime?. The Columbia Journal of Law & The Arts, 38(1), 1–27. https://doi.org/10.7916/jla.v38i1.2121


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.