Atlanta City Council Move To Limit The Use Of Rap Lyrics In Trial: Report

The legislation could have an impact on the YSL trial involving Young Thug.

BYAron A.
2021 Revolt Summit

Young Thug remains behind bars as he awaits jury selection in the YSL trial. However, much of the conversation surrounds the use of rap lyrics as evidence in the RICO case. Over the past year, there have been a number of efforts across the United States to limit creative expression as a form of admission in court. Now, an Atlanta City Council passed a resolution that aims to restrict the use of rap lyrics in criminal trials, as All Hip Hop reports.

Most recently, District 12 Councilmember Antonio Lewis of Atlanta explained his concerns over the use of prosecutors using lyrics in trial. As a result, he introduced the legislation as an attempt to address the matter, which became far more prominent in mainstream conversations since Young Thug’s arrest in 2022. However, Lewis and the Atlanta City Council have worked effortlessly to amend a statute in the Georgia Code. The council is now trying to get the Georgia General Assembly to address the matter in Title 17, Chapter 7.

Read More: YSL RICO Trial: The Craziest Moments In The Courtroom

Atlanta Council Aims To Restrict Rap Lyrics In Court 

The use of rap lyrics, specifically, in trials has been a controversial practice that faced criticism for the racial bias it presents. “Our resolution is a significant step toward rectifying an issue that has disproportionately affected individuals within marginalized communities,” Lewis said. “We must protect the freedom of artistic expression while ensuring that evidence used in criminal trials is relevant, reliable, and does not perpetuate bias. By urging the Georgia General Assembly to address this matter, we are fostering a more equitable and just criminal justice system for all.”

This legislation echoes concerns that Kevin Liles shared with the public upon Young Thug’s arrest. Liles not only took the stand to testify on Thug’s behalf but also partnered with Julie Greenwald to launch a petition against using rap lyrics as evidence. “In courtrooms across America, Black creativity and artistry is being criminalized. With increasing and troubling frequency, prosecutors are attempting to use rap lyrics as confessions, just like they’re doing in this case,” Liles and Greenwald said in a joint statement. “It punishes already marginalized communities and silences their stories of family, struggle, survival, and triumph."

Read More: Young Thug Challenges Evidence In RICO Trial

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About The Author
Aron A. is a features editor for HotNewHipHop. Beginning his tenure at HotNewHipHop in July 2017, he has comprehensively documented the biggest stories in the culture over the past few years. Throughout his time, Aron’s helped introduce a number of buzzing up-and-coming artists to our audience, identifying regional trends and highlighting hip-hop from across the globe. As a Canadian-based music journalist, he has also made a concerted effort to put spotlights on artists hailing from North of the border as part of Rise & Grind, the weekly interview series that he created and launched in 2021. Aron also broke a number of stories through his extensive interviews with beloved figures in the culture. These include industry vets (Quality Control co-founder Kevin "Coach K" Lee, Wayno Clark), definitive producers (DJ Paul, Hit-Boy, Zaytoven), cultural disruptors (Soulja Boy), lyrical heavyweights (Pusha T, Styles P, Danny Brown), cultural pioneers (Dapper Dan, Big Daddy Kane), and the next generation of stars (Lil Durk, Latto, Fivio Foreign, Denzel Curry). Aron also penned cover stories with the likes of Rick Ross, Central Cee, Moneybagg Yo, Vince Staples, and Bobby Shmurda.