Jay-Z is pushing for prosecutors to no longer use rap lyrics as court evidence.
For years, rappers have had to contend with the courts using their lyrics against them as means to "prove" guilt in cases concerning violent crimes, as exemplified by the admission of verses from artists like Drakeo the Ruler and Tay-K, the latter of whom was found guilty of murder after his 2017 hit "The Race" was used as "evidence." However, industry heavy-hitters are now throwing their weight behind proposed legislation that would prevent prosecutors from citing lyrics, unless they contain "clear and convincing proof" of a crime.
In a letter to to New York state lawmakers drafted by Jay-Z's lawyer, artists like Fat Joe, Robin Thicke, Meek Mill, Yo Gotti and Kelly Rowland pushed for the passage of bill called "Rap Music on Trial" in a bid to protect the freedom of expression.
“This is a long time coming,” attorney Alex Spiro said in a statement to Rolling Stone. “By changing the law here, you do a lot of good for the cases that it affects, but you also send a message that progress is coming. We expect it will be followed in a lot of places.”
Proposed in November by state senators Brad Hoylman and Jamaal Bailey, the bill passed an initial vote by the state Senate earlier this week, following Bailey's previous argument about how the legislation upholds "the right to free speech [that] is enshrined in our federal and state constitutions."
"The admission of art as criminal evidence only serves to erode this fundamental right," Bailey continued before pointing out that the "use of rap and hip-hop lyrics in particular is emblematic of the systemic racism that permeates our criminal justice system." So here's to hoping the "Rap Music on Trial" bill becomes a reality sooner rather than later.
Read Rolling Stone's entire report here.
Photo via Getty / George Pimentel / WireImage
- Jay-Z's Team Roc Raises $1M to Investigate Wrongful Convictions ... ›
- Jay-Z Fighting to Free Man Sentenced to 20 Years Over Weed ... ›
- Have White People Stolen Rap Concerts, Too? - PAPER ›
- New York State Senate Passes "Rap Music on Trial" Bill ›
- California Legislature Passes Bill on Rap Lyrics in Court ›
- Meek Mill Pays Bail for Incarcerated Women Ahead of Holidays ›
- Angela Simmons Confirms Relationship With Yo Gotti ›
- NBA YoungBoy Wants to Become a Mormon ›