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Eating For Free

Mar 2, 2023

In 1990, a landmark case about "obscenity" in rap music sparked decades of discourse. 30 years later, hundreds of black artists have been prosecuted based on lyrics and their music.

Part three of "Pop Music That F*cks", The Long War on Rap, is out now!


  • Obscenity or Art? Trial on Rap Lyrics Opens [NYT]
  • The state of obscenity in rap (June 29, 1990) [EW]
  • 2 Live Crew’s Obscenity Trial, Remembered by Luther Campbell and Doug Morris, 30 Years Later [Variety]
  • For Rap Singer, Rags to Riches Through Music [NYT] [June 1990]
  • H.R.8531 - Restoring Artistic Protection Act of 2022
  • T.I., Bun B, and Ari Melber Speak on the Hypocrisy of Using Rap Lyrics as Evidence in YSL RICO Case at ComplexCon [Complex] [Nov 2022]
  • When rap lyrics are used against you in court: ‘They silenced me for 21 years’ [The Guardian] [Sept 2022]
  • Meek Mill, Too Short, E-40, YG, and More Join Gavin Newsom for Signing of California’s Rap Lyrics Bill [Complex] [Sept 2022]
  • THE LONG RUSH TO JUDGMENT (Feb 2, 1994)  [Washington Post]
  • How Young Thug’s RICO Charges Set A New Precedent For Rap Lyrics Used As Evidence [OkayPlayer]


Hosted by journalists Joan Summers and Matthew Lawson, Eating For Free is a weekly podcast that explores gossip and power in the pop culture landscape: Where it comes from, who wields it, and who suffers at the hands of it. Find out the stories behind the stories, as together they look beyond the headlines of troublesome YouTubers or scandal-ridden A-Listers, and delve deep into the inner workings of Hollywood's favorite pastime. The truth, they've found, is definitely stranger than any gossip.

You can also find us on our website, Twitter, and Instagram. Or buy our merch! Any personal, business, or general inquires can be sent to 

  • Joan Summers: Twitter: @laracroftbarbie
  • Matthew Lawson: Twitter: @_matthewlawson