Southwestern Law School Los Angeles, CA

News Release

Professor Mason's Analysis of Jay-Z's "99 Problems" Goes Viral July 13, 2012
Professor Mason's Analysis of Jay-Z's "99 Problems" Goes Viral

Professor Caleb Mason's legal critique of Jay-Z's song, "99 Problems," presents a stimulating lesson "for anyone who's interested in what pop culture gets right about criminal justice, and what it gets wrong."

With the insight of a professor of criminal procedure and evidence and a former Assistant U.S. Attorney, his enlightening article, "Jay-Z's 99 Problems, Verse 2: A Close Reading with Fourth Amendment Guidance for Cops And Perps," published in the Saint Louis University Law Journal has hit a cord with the media as well. Click here to see the ever-growing media coverage of his article, ranging from the Huffington Post and Wall Street Journal to The Hollywood Reporter and Vibe. A pdf of Professor Mason's full law review article is available here.

While he found the media attention somewhat surprising, Professor Mason said, "It is really gratifying that a wide range of people liked my writing." He explained that he originally wrote about the song in the spring of 2011 as a teaching tool for his criminal procedure students.

"One of the core legal skills is applying doctrines to narratives, and this was an available narrative that they were all familiar with," he said. "If they can explain where the song is right and where it's wrong, and why, they'll be more likely to retain the doctrines. I submitted it for publication because I thought other law professors and students might find it useful. Happily, it looks like they have. I've gotten emails from a number of students who used it as a bar prep tool. I've also gotten emails from defense attorneys who say they're going to distribute it to clients, and even a couple from parents who have given it to their kids."