Jay-Z, Meek Mill, Fat Joe, Kelly Rowland & Robin Thicke Push For Law That Would Prohibit New York Prosecutors From Using Rap Lyrics As Evidence
Many famed musical artists are teaming up to make sure that rappers’ lyrics can’t be used against them in a court of law!
According to reports, Jay-Z, 52, and Meek Mill, 34 are putting their support behind a proposed New York State law that would block lyrics from being used during trials. The bill entitled “Rap Music on Trial” (S.7527/A.8681) aims to limit the use of an artist’s creative expression as evidence and would require prosecutors to prove with “clear and convincing” proof that any lyrics in question aren’t fictional.
According to reports, the legislation passed through the New York Senate Codes committee yesterday (Jan. 18) and was first proposed in November 2021 by Senator Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan), Senator Jamaal Bailey (D-The Bronx), and Assembly member Catalina Cruz (D-Queens).
In addition to Jay-Z and Meek Mill, multiple celebrities have also backed the bill, including; Fat Joe, 51, Big Sean, 33, Yo Gotti, 40, Kelly Rowland, 40, Killer Mike, 46, and Robin Thicke, 44.
A letter that was reportedly sent to state lawmakers from Jay-Z’s attorney Alex Spiro and University of Richmond Professor Erik Nielson, which is signed by the musicians who back the bill, explains the importance of the legislation.
The letter states,
“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’ — even though the genre is rooted in a long tradition of storytelling that privileges figurative language, is steeped in hyperbole, and employs all of the same poetic devices we find in more traditional works of poetry.”
“This tactic effectively denies rap music the status of art and, in the process, gives prosecutors a dangerous advantage in the courtroom. By presenting rap lyrics as rhymed confessions of illegal behavior, they are often able to obtain convictions even when other evidence is lacking.”
Reportedly, Spiro is hopeful that the bill will eventually make its way around all 50 states to “send a message that progress is coming.”
In a recent interview, Fat Joe spoke on the “Rap Music on Trial” bill (S.7527/A.8681) and said,
“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.”
What are your thoughts on this entire situation? Tell us below!