News: Jay-Z's "99 Problems" Story Has A Big Error, Says Law Professor

Wednesday, Jul 11, 2012 11:06AM

Written by Cyrus Langhorne

Rap mogul Jay-Z may have "99 Problems" but a law school professor could be his 100th after citing the validity of his 2003 hit single's content in a 19-page document.

According to reports, Professor Caleb Mason pointed out an inaccuracy in Jay's '03 anthem.

We at Paste would love to think that Caleb Mason, law professor at Southwestern Law School, was inspired by our disproving song stats infographic when he wrote a paper on Jay-Z's seminal "99 Problems," though we know that to be a total fallacy. Tons of research went into Mason's analysis of the second verse of the song, talking about what Hov gets right and wrong. Mason teaches criminal procedure at Southwestern and has plenty to say about the factual inaccuracies of the song, even relying on Jay-Z's own notes on the song in Decoded. "All the students know it," Mason said on why he chose it. (Paste Magazine)

Specifically, Mason analyzes Jay's claim of having his trunk and glove compartment locked up which helped avoid a police search.

"If this Essay serves no other purpose, I hope it serves to debunk, for any readers who persist in believing it, the myth that locking your trunk will keep the cops from searching it. Based on the number of my students who arrived at law school believing that if you lock your trunk and glove compartment, the police will need a warrant to search them, I surmise that it's even more widespread among the lay public. But it's completely, 100% wrong." (Saint Louis University Law Journal)

The law professor also gave out some advice for anyone ever caught in the same "99 Problems" position.

"The lesson for perps is threefold: (1) don't consent, (2) know the reasonable suspicion boilerplate and don't provide it, and (3) make a record of the encounter any way you can, including your behavior, appearance, and demeanor before and during the stop, the officer's stated motive for the stop, all of your responses to questioning, whether or not you were placed under arrest, and the exact amount of time you were held on the side of the road. And finally, most importantly, for both sides--when in doubt, talk to a lawyer. My door's always open to players on both sides of this game. Call me." (Saint Louis University Law Journal)

"99 Problems" amongst other tracks are also analyzed in Jay's 2010 best seller "Decoded."

Last week, RapFix journeyed to Miami--we know, hard work-- to watch rapper and music mogul Jay-Z introduce his partnership with the Microsoft search engine Bing in support of his upcoming memoir "Decoded." "We just took these pages and we just threw them out to the world, almost like a sampling," said Jay-Z. And just in case anyone thought these were dummy excerpts, the business man clarified by saying "You know, these are the real pages, you're getting to read some of the book." (RapFix)

Check out the "99 Problems" music video below:

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