JAY-Z, Killer Mike, Meek Mill, and More Fighting to Ban Rap Lyrics Used in Court

JAY-Z, Killer Mike, Meek Mill, and More Fighting to Ban Rap Lyrics Used in Court

Published Wed, January 19, 2022 at 8:00 AM EST

According to Rolling Stone, JAY-Z is spearheading a team of A-list artists pushing a ban on rap lyrics from being used in court. 

Hov recruited Meek Mill, Big Sean, Fat Joe, Yo Gotti, and Killer Mike, along with R&B stars Robin Thicke and Kelly Rowland, to support a proposed New York state law that seeks to prevent prosecutors from using rap songs as evidence in the court of law. 

The star-studded collective lent their signatures to a new letter urging state lawmakers 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.

The bill forces prosecutors to provide “clear and convincing evidence” rather than the defendant's creative expression, such as a rap song. Forcing prosecutors to use evidence that is  “literal, rather than figurative or fictional.”

On Tuesday (January 18), the bill was passed by the Senate Codes Committee, providing a significant 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,” Hov’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.”

“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.

In recent history, many rap lyrics have been used as evidence to put emcees behind bars. From Bobby Shmurda and YNW Melly to Tay-K and the late Drakeo The Ruler, many rappers have had their lyrics used against them in court, with prosecutors arguing their music is a lyrical confession of their alleged crimes.


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