Some of hip-hop’s biggest names have banded together to push for lawmakers to stop using rappers’ own lyrics against them in court to prove guilt during criminal trials.

In a recent report from the Rolling Stone, JAY-Z, Meek Mill, Big Sean, Fat Joe are amongst those who are backing a proposed New York bill titled “Rap Music on Trial.” The letter penned to New York Governor Kathy Hochul, called to pass the legislation before it makes its way to the Senate Codes Committee.

Hov’s lawyer Alex Spiro shared in a statement, “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. 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 led the writing of the letter with University of Richmond Professor Erik Nielson. The letter is co-signed by additional big-name artists including Kelly Rowland, Killer Mike, Yo Gotti and Robin Thicke.

Fat Joe spoke to the Rolling Stone about his perspective stating, “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.”

Senator Jamaal Bailey, who was amongst those who brought the bill forward, has been on the record to voice his support, “Presuming a defendant’s guilt based solely on musical genre or creative expression is antithetical to our foundational rights and perpetuates the systemic racism that is embedded into the criminal justice system through discriminatory conflations of hip-hop and rap with criminality.”

In other music news, Grammys have set a new date and location for the 2022 awards show.
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