Banning Slang Won’t Work

London drill rapper Rico Racks has been jailed for three years for drug offences. In addition to his prison sentence, Racks has been banned from rapping certain words relating to drug culture

These include: “bandoe” (an abandoned house used for drug dealing and taking), “trapping” (dealing), “booj” (heroin) and “whipping” (driving, a term used regularly in rap music in references unrelated to drug culture). Criminal Behaviour Orders can also be used to impose curfews, to prohibit associating with certain people and even to proscribe “the wearing of hooded clothing”.

The idea is that by banning certain words, the court will prevent Racks from glamorising drug dealing. However, it’s hard to imagine that – had the law been in place at the time – the Beatles would have been banned from singing “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”, which glamorises the use of hallucinogenic drugs, or Bob Dylan from sharing his poetic incantation of injecting heroin in “From a Buick 6”: “Well, when the pipeline gets broken and I’m lost on the river bridge / I’m cracked up on the highway and on the water’s edge / She comes down the thruway ready to sew me up with thread.”

Read More at New Statesman

Read the rest at New Statesman

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