Rappers, Meek Mill, JAY-Z, Fat Joe, Others Push For Law Preventing “Rap Lyrics” From Being Used In Court To Convict Rappers
Rapper and business mogul, JAY-Z is leading a group of A-list artists in proposing a new law to disallowing rap lyrics from being used in court as a form of evidence.
According to Rolling Stone magazine, Jay-Z has called up fellow rappers Meek Mill, Big Sean, Fat Joe, Yo Gotti and Killer Mike, as well as R&B stars Kelly Rowland and Robin Thicke, for support on the proposed New York state law.
The suit seems to prevent prosecutors from using rap songs as evidence of alleged crimes.
The music stars have lent their signatures to a new letter urging New York state lawmakers including Gov. Kathy Hochul — to pass a bill titled “Rap Music on Trial” (S.7527/A.8681).
The legislation, which was unveiled in November, seeks to limit the admissibility of a defendant’s music or other “creative expression” as evidence shown to a jury.
On Tuesday, January 18, the bill was passed by the Senate Codes committee, providing a major boost to its chances of being put to a full vote on the senate floor.
“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,” Jay-Z’s lawyer Alex Spiro said.
“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.”
Spiro co-wrote the letter with University of Richmond Professor Erik Nielson, who co-authored the 2019 book ‘Rap on Trial’.
In it, they emphasize rap music’s deep storytelling roots and use of hyperbolic language, while arguing the genre “employs all of the same poetic devices we find in more traditional works of poetry.”
“Our lyrics are a creative form of self-expression and entertainment – just like any other genre,” Fat Joe added.
“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.”