American rappers Jay-Z, Meek Mill, Big Sean and others are trying to pass a law that would stop the use of rap lyrics in attempts to prove the guilt of rappers during criminal trials.
According to a Rolling Stone report, the rap giants have added their names to a letter urging lawmakers to pass Senate Bill S7527, first released in November and passed through the Senate Code Committee earlier this week, to state law. Among those who signed the letter were Fat Joe, Kelly Rowland and Killer Mike.
“This issue is important for (Jay-Z) and all the other artists who have come together to try to make these changes,” shared Jay-Z lawyer Alex Spira. “It’s still a long time. Mr. Carter is from New York, and if he can borrow his name and his weight, that’s what he wants to do. “
The letter, received by People from Alex Spear and University of Richmond professor Eric Nilsson and signed by the musicians, explains that “reform is urgently needed.” The letter said: “Instead of recognizing rap as a form of artistic expression, police and prosecutors argue that lyrics should be interpreted literally – in the words of one prosecutor, as” autobiographical magazines “- even if the genre is rooted in a long tradition of storytelling. , who prefers figurative language, is imbued with hyperbole and uses all the same poetic techniques that we find in more traditional works of poetry.
“This tactic effectively denies rap music its status as an art and at the same time gives prosecutors a dangerous advantage in the courtroom,” the letter said. “By presenting rap lyrics as rhyming confessions to illegal behavior, they can often get a verdict, even if other evidence is lacking.”
In a statement from Rolling Stone on Tuesday, rapper Fat Joe shared: “Our lyrics are a creative form of expression and entertainment – like any other genre. We want our words to be recognized as art, not a weapon of condemnation. In court.”
He added: “I hope that the governor and all the legislators in New York will take our letter into account, defend our rights to the arts and make the right decision to pass this bill.”
The bill aims to limit the admissibility of the defendant’s music as evidence during criminal proceedings. According to the draft law, the bill requires from the prosecutor’s office “accurate and convincing” evidence that the defendant’s work is “literal, not figurative or fictional.”
According to Rolling Stone, the late Drakeo the Ruler is one of the rappers who was imprisoned after prosecutors used the lyrics in his 2016 song. Flex Freestyle to condemn him. Drakeo (real name Darrell Caldwell) spent three years in prison after being charged with murder in 2016 outside a party in Carson, California.
During the trial, the prosecutor’s office referred to the lyrics Flex Freestyle and claimed that he and armed associates were present at the party to specifically target RJ (the name used in the song). After the investigation it turned out that RZ was not even at the party. After three years in prison, Caldwell was acquitted of murder after agreeing to plead guilty to a lesser sentence.
“Prosecuting a defendant based solely on a musical genre or creative expression violates our fundamental rights and perpetuates systemic racism embedded in the criminal justice system through the discriminatory combination of hip-hop and rap with crime,” Senator Bailey said in a statement.
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