Rappers, beware! Many such performers glorify adultery, gang violence, drug abuse and other criminal behaviors. But their extreme language can have legal consequence: While rap lyrics typically are taken as anecdotal hyperbole from a, perhaps, utterly conjured thug life, the words also can’t absent themselves of real meaning, the justice system contends. And the Supreme Court of Nevada has underscored this, affirming felony convictions of rapper Deyundrea Holmes, aka “Khali.”
He had appealed his conviction, asserting his trial was unfair because prosecutors got lyrics of a “gangsta” rap he wrote after his crime admitted into evidence, assisting in his first-degree murder and robbery conviction. Further, while jailed, the prolific and boastful rapper wrote another ditty that paralleled circumstances of the murder and robbery for which he was convicted.
The court found unconvincing his contention that other rap tunes contained similar lyrics and that jurors might be prejudiced against him because of the bad reputation of gangsta rap.
Caleb Mason, a Southwestern Law School professor who has penned a take-down of Jay Z’s evidentiary theories in 99 Problems, earlier has warned that provocative raps by superstars Chris Brown and Drake over a putative, lucrative and career-enhancing rivalry over the sultry Rihanna — which has led to fists and bottles flying in some hip-hop clubs — could prove legally problematic to the duo in court.