The RAP Act Could Ban Lyrics As Evidence In Criminal Trials


Over the previous few months, rap followers have positioned increasingly more scrutiny on prosecutors who use rap lyrics as proof in prison trials towards hip-hop artists. Whereas “hip-hop cops” have lengthy been rumored as a fixture of the justice system, circumstances involving widespread rappers reminiscent of Young Thug and YoungBoy Never Broke Again have highlighted how that system tries to show rappers’ artistic expression towards them. Utilizing literal interpretations of violent lyrics or shout-outs to alleged prison teams as proof is more and more seen as a violation of artists’ freedom of speech; thankfully, a brand new growth might assist to guard that proper sooner or later.

A brand new invoice modeled after New York’s “Rap On Trial” regulation proposal has been launched within the US Home Of Representatives by Congressmen Hank Johnson (D-GA) and Jamaal Bowman (D-NY). The New York model, which passed the state senate in Might, nonetheless hasn’t handed the state meeting or been ratified by the governor but, however its creation turned out to be instructive on the brand new federal invoice, referred to as the Restoring Inventive Safety (RAP) Act (get it?). The RAP Act would change the Federal Guidelines of Proof to restrict using lyrics as proof.

In an announcement, Rep. Bowman stated, “Rap, Hip Hop, and each lyrical musical piece is a good looking type of artwork and expression that should be protected. Our judicial system disparately criminalizes Black and brown lives, together with Black and brown creativity. Proof exhibits when juries consider lyrics to be rap lyrics, there’s an inclination to presume it’s a confession, whereas lyrics for different genres of music are understood to be artwork, not factual reporting. This act would be certain that our evidentiary requirements shield the First Modification proper to freedom of expression. We can’t imprison our gifted artists for expressing their experiences nor will we let their creativity be suppressed.”

If handed, the RAP Act may shield artists like Younger Thug and Gunna, who’re accused of alleged ties to a violent street gang. Within the racketeering indictment, each are charged with violations of the RICO Act, however the one proof tying them to the supposed gang is cherry-picked lyrics. Likewise, NBA YoungBoy was given a reprieve from utilizing lyrics to show he had data of weapons when nothing in these lyrics could tie him to the gun found in his car. The burden of proof ought to completely be larger than “this man rapped about this factor on a tune as soon as, so clearly he did the crime we’re accusing him of.” Because of the RAP Act, it may very well be.

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