Explaining rap music to the Supreme court
Underlying this tradition is the practice of signifying, or the obscuring of apparent meaning; in the process of signifying, ambiguity is prized, meaning is destabilized, and gaps between the literal and the figurative are intentionally exploited. This practice, along with rap’s dense slang and penchant for imbuing words with new meaning(s), makes it especially susceptible to misreading and misinterpretation.
…these stereotypes ignore the importance of rap music, which not only is a global, multibillion-dollar industry, but also an influential and recognized form of artistic expression. With audiences dwarfing their traditional literary counterparts, rappers have introduced the world to a powerful new poetry – one memorized and recited by millions of people – that has given voice to communities of marginalized people and, at its best, has served as an anthem of resistance in the face of injustice.