Since the birth of hip hop, rappers have responded to the unjustness of our American criminal justice system. While their voices haven’t always been represented by the mainstream, true hip hop culture has always been rooted in social, economic, and political themes of justice. Though hip hop culture now has enormous economic and cultural power, hip hop has been believed to not have that much political power. However, many iconic rappers, such as Jay-Z, Talib Kweli, Kendrick Lamar, and Vic Mensa, are using their positionally to challenge this belief.

California State Props

      • Proposition 64: Marijuana Legalization
        • A YES vote on this means: Adults 21 years or older could legally grow, possess, and use marijuana for nonmedical purposes. No minor under 21 would serve time for marijuana-related offenses, instead they would partake in educational and rehabilitative services. The state would regulate nonmedical marijuana businesses and tax marijuana’s growth and sale. Most of the revenue would go to youth programs, environmental protections, and the police
      • Proposition 57: Criminal Sentences Juvenile Criminal Proceedings and Sentencing  
        • A YES vote on this means: Certain state prisoners convicted of nonviolent felony offenses would be considered for earlier release. The state prison system could award additional sentencing credits for good behaviors and rehabilitative or educational achievements. Youth must have a juvenile court hearing before they can be transferred to adult court



3 responses »

  1. ariatung says:

    The fact that both of these propositions haven’t already passed is ridiculous. People group marijuana with all these other dangerous drugs when it isn’t even that bad for you. And people view people who smoke as bad, which is also ridiculous. And people should not be doing time in jail because they smoked a little weed. This relates to the other proposition as well- people who commit non-violent crimes should not be doing hard time in jail other. People are so quick to judge people who commit crimes, or smoke weed, and it really isn’t fair.

  2. alicecmullin says:

    Thank you for this! I find political jargon to be quite confusing sometimes but still like to be an educated voter and so this simple description is really helpful.

  3. ddmaoz says:

    I think Jay-Z’s video is super important and innovative. Having a public figure (that many youths in the US can relate to) deliver such a powerful message backed up by powerful visuals and facts can have such a tremendous impact. This issue of mass incarceration and police targeting of communities of color becomes accessible in a video such as this, and can be a powerful tool in making information understandable and easy to spread.

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