Bill in New York Assembly would curb the practice.
Written by: Colt Shaw
As this year’s big acts took the stage at Summer Jam, their Atlanta peers — Young Thug and Gunna, along with some 26 associates — were awaiting trial on RICO charges in Fulton County, Georgia, in one of the most high profile criminal cases in hip-hop’s history.
Their lyrics are on trial, as well, as prosecutors allege bars from the two are indicative of guilt.
The issue was highlighted just before the night’s main act, Fivio Foreign, with a video featuring Polo G, G Herbo, DJ Khaled and Post Malone, among others, speaking in support of Thug and Gunna and artistic expression. The video ended with a recorded message from Thugga himself.
“I just want to say thank you to all my friends and my family for coming out and supporting us,” Thug said. “Everybody please sign the ‘Protect Black Art’ petition and keep praying for us.”
Advocates for Black music in New York are working to make sure the practice is a thing of the past in the state. On May 17, the New York state Senate passed what has been dubbed the “Rap Music On Trial” bill, aimed at shielding rappers from having their lyrics used against them in court. Hot97 teamed up with 300 Entertainment to create the “Protect Black Art” campaign and petition to advance the cause. The cause has earned support from the likes of Jay-Z, Fat Joe and Meek Mill.
New York’s own Bobby Shmurda wants to see similar bills passed around the country. After his 2014 arrest, the “Hot N***a” rapper had lyrics from the smash hit used against him on weapons charges.
“I’m grateful for it,” Shmurda has said. “I feel like it needs to happen all around the country, especially with what’s going on in Atlanta right now.”
Last week, Kevin Lisle, CEO and Founder of 300 Entertainment, and Senator Jamaal Bailey, co-sponsor of SB7527, sat down with Ebro in the Morning to discuss the importance of the bill, which still needs to pass the State Assembly and receive a signature from Governor Kathy Hochul.