Jay-Z & Meek Mill and more, backs bill to stop rap lyrics use in Courts.
Jay-Z and Meek Mill are pushing for a law that would stop prosecutors from taking rap lyrics as evidence against rappers. The letter for the proposed law [“Rap Music on Trial” (S.7527/A.8681)] is also signed by the likes of Big Sean, Fat Joe, Killer Mike, Kelly Rowland, Robin Thicke and more.
“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 told Rolling Stone. “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.”
“Our lyrics are a creative form of self-expression and entertainment – just like any other genre,” said Fat Joe. “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.”
Jay-Z lawyer Alex Spiro wrote a letter with the University of Richmond Professor Erik Nielson. “Rather than acknowledge rap music as a form of artistic expression, police and prosecutors argue that the lyrics should be interpreted literally. In the words of one prosecutor, as ‘autobiographical journals’,” reads Spiro and Nielson’s letter. “Even though the genre is rooted in a long tradition of storytelling that privileges figurative language, is steeped and employs all of the same poetic devices we find in more traditional works of poetry.”
We often see rap songs being used in the trials, and previously, the late Drakeo the Ruler was incarcerated after prosecutors used the lyrics of his 2016 song ‘Flex Freestyle’.