NewsRap lyrics: California restricts use in court

Rap lyrics: California restricts use in court

Created: 10/01/2022, 10:30 a.m

Young Thug
US rapper Young Thug at the Lollapalooza music festival in Grant Park in Chicago last year. © Amy Harris/Invision/AP/dpa

Rap lyrics are more often used as evidence in lawsuits in the United States – not necessarily to the advantage of the artists. California has now drawn consequences from this.

Sacramento – California became the first state to pass legislation restricting the use of rap lyrics in court evidence. The governor of the west coast state, Gavin Newsom, signed the bill on Friday (local time). Celebrity rappers such as Meek Mill, Ty Dolla $ign, Tyga and YG participated via video link.

The law (Decriminalizing Artistic Expression Act) is intended to protect artists from the fact that their song lyrics can be used as unlawful evidence against them in criminal proceedings. Many rap lyrics deal with crime and violence, leading to anti-genre stereotypes. The law’s supporters argue that the right to creative expression must be protected.

For too long, prosecutors have found it easy to introduce rap lyrics into criminal cases, creating prejudice and confusion, musician attorney and activist Dina LaPolt said in a statement, according to Variety. She hopes that a similar law will also be passed at the federal level.

Rap lyrics are more commonly used as evidence in trials in the United States. According to Variety, prosecutors recently referred to violence in songs by rapper Young Thug after his arrest last May. The musician is accused of involvement in gang crime in Atlanta (Georgia). dpa

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