Jay-Z’s “99 Problems,” Verse 2, Broken Down By a Law Professor, Line By Line

Somehow, I escaped 2004 never having really heard Jay-Z’s classic 99 Problems. I know, I know – I was on Mars, living in a cave, with my eyes shut and my fingers in my ears.

Anyhow – if you’re like me, and you’ve never heard the song… I still think you’ll find this a great read: Associate Professor of Law Caleb Mason does a blow-by-blow breakdown of the second verse from the song.

In one compact, teachable verse (Verse 2), the song forces us to think about traffic stops, vehicle searches, drug smuggling, probable cause, and racial profiling, and it beautifully tees up my favorite pedagogical heuristic: life lessons for cops and robbers.

I saw this article a few weeks ago, but at the time it was a PDF file. I quickly skimmed it, but never got around to reading it. Today, I happened to see a link to a text version via longform.org, and got totaly sucked in.

Fun stuff, and worth a read. If for nothing else, to know about your ability to refuse consent. Also made me remember two great videos by Professor James Duane and Officer George Bruch: Arguments Against Talking to the Police. A must-watch video for sure.

Arguments Against Talking To The Police: Professor James Duane And Officer George Bruch
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