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Law students charged with writing a law review article may feel like they have 99 problems -- or 120, or 200, or however many footnotes your 3L editors demand. Perhaps the biggest problem: what to write about in the first place.
Turns out, you can just turn to your iPod.
That's what an associate law professor seems to have done in the latest issue of the Saint Louis University Law Journal. His scholarly breakdown of Jay-Z's "99 Problems" is getting shared on the Internet, and shows law students that journal writing doesn't have to be dry.
Pardon us, however, if we say the professor's hip-hop polemic appears a bit familiar.
The professor's "99 Problems" law review article examines the major Fourth Amendment issues in Jay-Z's 2004 hit. It also follows FindLaw's Celebrity Justice blog, which did the same thing last November.
A coincidence, to be sure. (In fact, another attorney offered a different take on the lyrics for Yahoo! Voices in 2009.) But it's safe to say that the new analysis by Associate Professor Caleb Mason of Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles is the most detailed to date.
In a move that many law students may soon try to emulate, Mason takes a line from "99 Problems," then points out legal accuracies and inaccuracies. For example:
Will Mason's "99 Problems" law review article inspire others to dissect lyrics by, say, Bob Dylan ("Hurricane"), NWA ("F- Tha Police"), or that famous cover by The Clash ("I Fought the Law")? We can only hope.