Ronald “Ra Diggs” Herron attempted to appeal the court's 2014 ruling in his drug-related murder case. The motion filing claimed his “music and promotional videos related to his rap music career were erroneously admitted into evidence.” On Friday, a federal court of appeals upheld the conviction involving a drug trade at two Brooklyn public housing projects and murders allegedly described in the rapper's music. 

Prosecutors used the musical content to enhance his criminal persona while they built a case to prove he had murdered several rivals in the Wyckoff and Gowanus Houses and dominated the area's drug trafficking from the late-90s until 2011.

Ra Diggs' appeal called up the First Amendment that “limits the government’s ability to regulate the content of speech,” which is acknowledged by U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Still, the prosecution used case law to remind the court that the Constitution does not “prohibit the evidentiary use of speech to establish the elements of a crime or to prove motive or intent.”

The rapper spoke out during his sentencing in 2015. “You guys sit here and continue to paint this picture that I’m the devil incarnate, the scourge of righteousness — it’s all crap. Even the most dim prosecutor could have secured a conviction under this atmosphere of guilt they built. They did all but point a big, red arrow of guilty up on that projection screen.”

via