"Hurricane" is a protest song by Bob Dylan co-written with Jacques Levy, about the imprisonment of Rubin "Hurricane" Carter. It compiles alleged acts of racism and profiling against Carter, which Dylan describes as leading to a false trial and conviction.
Carter and a man named John Artis had been charged with a triple murder which occurred at the Lafayette Grill in Paterson, New Jersey in 1966. Carter and Artis were found guilty of committing the murders, which were widely reported as racially motivated crimes, and both were sentenced to four consecutive life sentences. In the years that followed, a substantial amount of controversy emerged over the case, ranging from allegations of faulty evidence and questionable eyewitness testimony to an unfair trial. In his autobiography, Carter maintained his innocence, and his story eventually led Dylan to visit him in Rahway State Prison in Woodbridge Township, New Jersey.
Dylan had previously written topical ballads such as "The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll" and "The Death of Emmett Till", but according to Jacques Levy:
After meeting with Carter in prison and meeting a group of his supporters, Dylan began to write "Hurricane" in a...