BROCKTON, Massachusetts (AP) - A lawyer for the family of a 9-year-old Massachusetts rapper who appears in sexually suggestive videos is criticising authorities' decision to investigate whether the boy is the victim of possible child abuse or neglect.
The boy who performs as "Lil Poopy" is a thriving, well-adjusted fourth-grader with a good home life, good grades and musical talent, attorney Joseph Krowski Jr. said of client Luie Rivera Jr., who is of Puerto Rican descent.
"This is just what I would call a racially-tinged investigation because whoever watched it probably doesn't understand rap," Mr Krowski said.
"This isn't some child left alone that's not going to school. It all comes down to content in the videos, which is protected by the First Amendment" of the US Constitution that protects free speech, he added.
On Sunday, Brockton police asked state child welfare officials to look into possible abuse after watching Lil Poopy videos following a feature story about him in local newspaper The Enterprise.
Police said on Monday that they have not filed any criminal charges. A Department of Children and Families (DFC) spokesman confirmed that officials are looking into concerns about the young rapper's welfare.
The investigation will include interviews with everyone who lives in the child's home and likely others who have contact with the 9-year-old, such as school officials, DCF spokesman Cayenne Isaksen said.
Child welfare officials can refer the case to the local district attorney's office if an investigation finds any criminal behaviour.
"The filers of this report wanted to make sure the child is being properly cared for," Ms Isaksen said. "So the department will look into all aspects of this."
The videos show the boy slapping a woman's buttocks, engaging in sexually suggestive dances and glorifying drug use and materialism.
The boy's father, Mr Luis Rivera, told The Enterprise that his son is acting and not doing anything wrong.
The newspaper said Lil Poopy has performed alongside Sean "P. Diddy" Combs, and was discovered in his father's music studio by the rapper known as French Montana, who founded Cocaine City Records.
Lil Poopy music that was posted to an online mix tape site last October has lyrics that include him singing about being a "bad boy" and a "cocaine cowboy." It showed about 8,600 downloads and 195,000 views by Monday afternoon.
YouTube posts also feature the boy singing "Coke ain't a bad word," and show him with Coca Cola.