Activists Cry Racism As Prosecutors Take Criminal Confessions In Rap Songs Literally

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Activists have accused prosecutors of racism for using rappers’ lyrics as evidence in alleged crimes, according to The Times.

Prosecutors are using lyrics in the violent genre to pin criminal acts or intent on the rappers, most of whom are black men, according to The Times. Activists accuse the prosecutors of singling-out incriminating lyrics to paint the young men as criminals without hard evidence, per the outlet. (RELATED: 45 Gang Members Hit With Federal Charges As Prosecutors Seek To Classify Gang Violence As Organized Crime)

Drill rap, a sub-genre of rap which was created in Chicago in the early 2010s, has gained notoriety for its confrontational and explicit depictions of criminal activity, the outlet noted. Abenaa Owusu-Bempah, a criminal law associate professor at the London School of Economics, argues that prosecutors are using the lyrics in drill rap to unfairly target black men, a tactic not common for other forms of music.

“No other form of art is routinely used in this way and no other demographic routinely has their creative expression conflated with their character,” she said.

Researchers from University of Manchester have identified over 72 cases affecting more than 250 people over a three-year span in which drill lyrics have been presented as a legitimate form of evidence, the outlet reported.

Prosecutors used American rapper Young Thug‘s lyrics as evidence against him in a case which claims he conspired to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), according to ABC News.

Young Slime Life (YSL), an Atlanta-based gang that the rapper is alleged to be involved with, was mentioned in several of his songs. The rapper allegedly outlined various criminal acts in the song lyrics, which prosecutors allege serve as evidence that the rapper co-founded the gang, ABC noted.

Young Thug’s attorney, Brian Steel, filed a motion arguing that the lyrics should not be used in criminal proceedings, ABC noted.

“[Lyrics] cannot be used as evidence of crime if they are simply connected to music/freedom of expression/freedom of speech/poetry,” Steel said in the motion.

Crimes such as homicide and theft have soared in cities in recent years after the election of progressive prosecutors in blue cities.