T.I. & Bun B Discuss Use Of Rap Lyrics In Court With Ari Melber

T.I. and Bun B spoke with Ari Melber about the use of rap lyrics in criminal cases at ComplexCon.

BYCole Blake
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T.I. and Bun B sat down with Ari Melber at ComplexCon 2022’s "The War on Rap" panel, Saturday. During the event, they discussed the controversial use of rap lyrics in criminal cases.

The sit-down comes ahead of the trial for Young Thug and Gunna's recent RICO arrest. Prosecutors in the case have stated their intention to use the two rapper's lyrics against them.

“So Johnny Depp was on trial for allegations of violence," Melber remarked at one point, as noted by the outlet. "How do you prove whether he was violent or not? Do you go to the evidence, the facts about his life, or do you go to the fact that he played a violent pirate?”

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - OCTOBER 08: T.I. speaks onstage during Netflix Presents Rhythm+Flow Atlanta screening at Clark Atlanta University on October 08, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Netflix/Allied Integrated Marketing)

“He played a violent drug dealer in Blow too,” Bun B noted.

Melber continued: “We want to show you the contrast because whatever came up in that trial they never brought in his lines from a film, the way they’re bringing lines from other art against Black artists.”

Later, Bun B explained that the public rarely treats hip-hop as a legitimate art form. In not doing so, the legendary artist says that they devalue the culture as a result.

“Hip-hop is always looked at as cool, like the culture is cool, it’s fun, it’s hip, it’s edgy, it’s all that but it’s never described as art,” he explained. “It’s never put in that box. It’s never labeled as such. Which allows them to denigrate the culture… It allows it to label it outside everything they deem classy or worthy or of value. It’s very easy to devalue hip-hop culture by using lyrics like they put up on there to literally box everyone in under that one thing.”

Bun B added: “When YSL is on trial, hip-hop is on trial.”

Young Thug and Gunna’s RICO trial will officially begin on January 9, 2023. Judge Ural Glanville has denied the prosecution's request to push the date back.

ComplexCon will continue in Long Beach, California on Sunday.


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About The Author
Cole Blake is currently an Editor at HotNewHipHop based out of Brooklyn, New York. He began working at the site as an intern back in 2018 while studying journalism at St. John’s University. In the time since, he’s graduated with a bachelor's degree and written extensively about a wide range of topics including pop culture, film & television, politics, video games, sports, and much more. He’s also covered music festivals such as Gov. Ball and Rolling Loud. You can find him publishing work for HNHH from Monday to Wednesday or on weekends. On the sports front, Cole’s a passionate NBA and NFL fan with his favorite teams being the Indianapolis Colts and Los Angeles Lakers. He also roots for the Yankees whenever he finds himself at Yankee Stadium or the Red Storm when in the company of other SJU alumni. His favorite hip-hop artists are billy woods, Earl Sweatshirt, Cam’ron, MIKE, and Mach-Hommy.