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Jay-Z, Big Sean, Meek Mill, Fat Joe and More Team Up to Block Rap Lyrics From Criminal Trials

Hov is teaming up with Meek Mill, Big Sean, Fat Joe, Kelly Rowland, Yo Gotti, Killer Mike, Robin Thicke, and others to prevent lyrics from being used in court against rappers.

Jay-Z and Meek Mill Team Up to Block Rap Lyrics From Being Used in Court along with Fat Joe, Big Sean, Yo Gotti, Kelly Rowland, Robin Thicke

In Tuesday Rolling Stone report, Shawn Jay-Z Carter and many others of his contemporaries to prohibit rap lyrics from being used in criminal trials in recently proposed New York state bill.

Proposed in November, Bill S.7527/A.8681 — “Rap Music on Trial” — passed through a Senate Codes committee on Tuesday (January 18), according to Rolling Stone, in a letter to state lawmakers, including New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, the group called for the legislation to be passed after it made its way through the Senate Codes Committee.

“This reform is urgently needed,” reads the letter. “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 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, shared. “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.”

Spiro co-wrote the letter with University of Richmond Professor Erik Nielson, and said that he hopes the legislation makes its way across the country to “send a message that progress is coming.” Also co-signing the letter were Kelly Rowland, Killer Mike, Yo Gotti, Robin Thicke, and more.

“Our lyrics are a creative form of self-expression and entertainment – just like any other genre,” Fat Joe told Rolling Stone. “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.”


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