Bobby Shmurda has said that New York’s new Rap On Trial bill should be adopted across the United States.
Earlier this week (May 17), the New York State Senate passed a bill limiting the use of song lyrics as evidence in court by prosecutors.
First touted last November, the purpose of this bill is to set a new high bar compelling prosecutors to show “clear and convincing evidence” that a defendant’s rap song, video, or other “creative expression” is “literal, rather than figurative or fictional”.
Shmurda was jailed for seven years in 2014 after being indicted and pleading guilty to weapons and murder conspiracy charges. The initial indictment in his case included references to his lyrics.
“I’m grateful for it,” he told TMZ of the new bill. “I feel like it needs to happen all over the country, especially with what’s going on in Atlanta right now.”
Both rappers were named in a 28-person grand jury indictment and charged with conspiracy to violate the state of Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.
The indictment centres around the YSL record label and collective, allegedly formed by Thug – real name Jeffery Lamar Williams – in 2012, which authorities claim is a “criminal street gang”. Part of the indictment is based around Williams, Sergio Kitchens (aka Gunna) and other YSL associates’ lyrics and social media posts allegedly being “acts in furtherance of the conspiracy”.
Among those lyrics are a line from Williams and Kitchens’ collaboration ‘Slatty’, in which the latter raps: “I killed his man in front of his momma / Like fuck lil bruh, sister and his cousin.”
Gunna’s legal team have since responded, describing the RICO indictment as “intensely problematic”.
Led by Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan) and Jamaal Bailey (D-The Bronx), the new bill – called ‘Rap Music On Trial’ and dubbed Senate Bill S7527 – has received support since the idea was raised from Jay-Z, Run The Jewels‘ Killer Mike, Meek Mill and more.
The bill will now aim to pass through the New York State Assembly in order to become a law.