Jay-Z and Fellow Hip Hop Artists Team Up to Block Rap Lyrics From Being Used in Court

According to Rolling Stone, Jay-Z is leading a list of music industry titans throwing their support behind a proposed New York state law that aims to stop prosecutors from using rap lyrics as purported blueprints to alleged crimes, Rolling Stone has learned.

The rap superstar, born Shawn Carter, is teaming up with Meek Mill, Big Sean, Fat Joe, Kelly Rowland, Yo Gotti, Killer Mike, Robin Thicke, and others as celebrity signatories on a new letter urging state lawmakers — and ultimately Gov. Kathy Hochul — to make the recently proposed bill titled “Rap Music on Trial” (S.7527/A.8681) a state law.

The legislation, first unveiled in November, successfully sailed through the Senate Codes committee on Tuesday, marking its first step toward getting a full vote on the senate floor.

“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,” Jay-Z’s lawyer Alex Spiro, a partner at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, tells Rolling Stone.

Spiro co-wrote the letter with University of Richmond Professor Erik Nielson, who authored the book “Rap on Trial” with University of Georgia law professor Andrea Dennis. The lawyer said he and Hova — who previously fought back against the lack of racial diversity on arbitration panels, leading to national reforms — consider the proposed legislation a bellwether that could spread to other states.

“By changing the law here, you do a lot of good for the cases that it affects, but you also send a message that progress is coming. We expect it will be followed in a lot of places,” Spiro said. (Continue Reading)