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Hip hop stars are fighting to ban the use of rap lyrics as court evidence

“Our lyrics are a creative form of self-expression and entertainment”

  • Gemma Ross
  • 20 January 2022
Hip hop stars are fighting to ban the use of rap lyrics as court evidence

Rappers including Meek Mill, Jay-Z, Big Sean, and Fat Joe are campaigning for the use of rap lyrics as evidence in court to be thrown out under a new bill titled: Rap Music on Trial.

The new law would block any rap lyrics written and used by an artist used against them to prove guilt, as commonly happens in criminal trials.

Rolling Stone first reported the ongoing campaign on Tuesday where they revealed that Jay-Z is taking charge of the proposed New York state law, backed by other rappers and artists such as Kelly Rowland and Robin Thicke.

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The legislation has already passed through the Senate Codes Committee and will now get a full vote on the Senate floor after first being proposed in November.

Jay-Z is now asking for other rappers to come forward and use their name to back the bill in an open letter. The legislation proposes that no music made by that rapper or other forms of “creative expression” be used against them in court.

Alex Spiro, Jay-Z’s lawyer, told Rolling Stone: “This is an issue that’s important to (Jay-Z) and all the other artists that have come together to try to bring about this change.

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“This is a long time coming. Mr Carter is from New York, and if he can lend his name and his weight, that’s what he wants to do,” he said.

Speaking on why the new legislation is close to home, Fat Joe told the Rolling Stone: “Our lyrics are a creative form of self-expression and entertainment – just like any other genre. We want our words to be recognized as art rather than being weaponized to get convictions in court.”

I hope the governor and all the lawmakers in New York take our letter into consideration, protect our artistic rights and make the right decision to pass this bill,” he continued.

[Via Rolling Stone]

Gemma Ross is Mixmag's Digital Intern, follow her on Twitter

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