Erik Nielson is an Associate Professor of Liberal Arts at the University of Richmond, where he teaches courses on African American literature and hip hop culture. His research focuses on the relationship between law enforcement and African American art, with a particular emphasis on rap music.
He recently published The Hip Hop & Obama Reader with Oxford University Press and is at work on a book titled Under Surveillance: Policing the Resistance in Hip Hop for Manchester University Press. His work has appeared in several academic journals, and he is a regular contributor to outlets such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, USA Today, and CNN.
He has served, or is currently serving, as an expert witness or consultant in approximately 30 criminal cases involving rap lyrics as evidence. He has also been the lead author of two amicus briefs on rap music that were submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court.