Should lyrics ever be fair game in a court of law?
With his first-degree murder trial looming on the horizon, YNW Melly and his legal team have been preparing accordingly. One of his lawyers, Jason Roger Williams, has reached out to XXL to explain some of the expected angles the prosecutors might take. As it happens, Williams believes the rapper's lyrics will ultimately be used against him, likely alluding to the ominous "Murder On My Mind." And while the idea of lyrics being presented as fact in a court of law is likely a slippery slope, it's a reality Melly and his team may very well have to face.
"It’s unclear, but [lyrics have] certainly been a large part of what has come from that office right now," Williams broke down to XXL. "They have not used lyrics in court yet, but that seems to be the plan based on what we’ve heard so far." Such a practice was previously used during Boosie's 2011 trial, with Williams once again representing a rapper.
Image via HNHH
"When you look at the police behavior, when you look at the allegations that somehow rap lyrics are potential evidence or suggestive culpability or real life actions—those similarities are present in this case as well, and they were present in Boosie’s case," Williams explains, acknowledging the dangerous precedent set by such a practice. "The thing that some law enforcement folks just haven’t realized yet is that rap lyrics are just lyrics, just like rock song lyrics are just lyrics, just like Al Pacino’s in his script in Scarface are just words on a page! However, when the person who is rapping is young and African-American, they somehow want to make a leap that these things are not just creative."
YNW Melly has been in jail since February, after allegedly murdering his former associates YNW Sakchaser and YNW Juvy. Upon his arrest, the success of his recent album We All Shine skyrocketed, culminating in a platinum plaque for the aforementioned "Murder On My Mind."