- The Washington Times - Monday, August 22, 2005

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The violent rap lyrics that got their teenage author expelled from school are typical of a genre that emphasizes verbal jousting, which is not necessarily a prelude to violent action, a scholar told a federal judge.

Anthony Latour, 14, was expelled from the eighth grade in mid-May for the lyrics, including the line

“So watch what you say about me, I’m everywhere son, And the word of mouth is that I’m carrying guns.”

The American Civil Liberties Union is trying to get him reinstated when classes begin Aug. 31 in the Riverside Beaver County School District.

At a hearing last week, ACLU attorney Kim Watterson said the lyrics had to be taken in context of “battle rap,” a genre in which rappers try to outdo one another by the “flexing of lyrical muscles.”



To make her case, she called Bakari Kitwana, an author of three books on hip-hop culture. Mr. Kitwana said battle rap “can get pretty nasty in terms of the language,” but the words don’t lead to violence. “It’s absolutely a verbal challenge,” he said.

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