This article sets out to prove why the law must be investigated in an interdisciplinary fashion which invites an in-tersection between law, popular culture, and identity politics. First, this article describes how Wyclef Jean, a hip-hop artist, is an active voice of legal criticism and why his criticism is important to a larger discussion of the law. Second, this paper develops a conception of Creole/Haitian legal studies and its importance as an analytical lens through which to perceive the law and legal institutions. Third, this piece formulates a rhetorical criticism n4 of the law through the rhe-torical terrain of Wyclef's hip-hop music and cultural aesthetic to critique criminal law and legal institutions. The fusion of hip-hop, n5 Haitian/Creole cultural identity, and rhetorical criticism, opens a new area for legal analysis and under-standing. This article concludes by suggesting that rhetorical criticism, hip-hop, and other rhetorical acts (among them irony and hyperbole) provide new terrain from which to understand the law, and further, that the Haitian/Creole cultural identity is an important and underrepresented facet of legal culture, which further compliments current critical race the-ory.
There is not any sort of numbered pattern in this work and the presentation of issues discussed in this in-troduction is not consistent with the order of the paper's body because to do otherwise would deny the intersectionality n6 of the issues discussed. It is therefore better to perceive this paper as a freestyle session, n7 developing spontaneously, overlapping, and relapsing as an organic discourse. The issues of identity politics, popular culture, and rhetorical criticism exhibit a tremendous degree of intersectionality. This somewhat odd presentation style is preferred because strict adherence to traditional form and style are so limiting that writing in that style may restrict the utility of the criticism presented and render futile an understanding of the intersectionality amongst identity politics, popular culture, and rhe-torical criticism.
Throughout the paper, examples of Wyclef's specific legal criticism are brought to light. These vignettes are weaved through the paper in an attempt to tie the larger theoretical components with Wyclef Jean's actual/practical legal criticism. The hope is that these vignettes will serve as useful examples in support of the theory discussed.
- Nick J. Sciullo,
- rhetorical theory,
- critical race theory
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/nickjsciullo/5/