RAP Act Introduced In the US House of Representatives

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RAP Act will give rappers the freedom to say what they want in a song without fear of the lyrics being used against them.

The Restoring Artistic Protection (RAP) Act was proposed on Wednesday by Representatives Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) and Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) to restrict the use of lyrics and “artistic expression” as evidence in criminal proceedings.

Prosecutors relied extensively on the lyrics of Young Thug and Gunna in their cases, which led to their detention and prosecution this year, prompting the adoption of the law. The measure, if approved, would make it more difficult for criminal and civil litigators to utilize song lyrics as evidence against musicians. Since this strategy is used disproportionately against rappers, the legislators highlighted the racial justice aspect of their bill while announcing it.

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The measure is similar to the “Rap Music on Trial” law that was submitted in New York last November and passed the state Senate in May and the “Decriminalizing Artistic Expression Act” that has been introduced in California but has not yet been voted on by the state Senate.

Rep. Johnson said in a statement, “Freedom of speech is the constitutional underpinning the framers deemed necessary to enable a fresh and free society to determine its own destiny via trade and inventions, but also through culture, expression, and art.”

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Immediately following the introduction of the RAP Act in the House of Representatives, CEO of the Recording Academy Harvey Mason Jr. and chair of the Recording Academy Black Music Collective Rico Love emailed a statement to Digital Music News, saying, “Today’s introduction of the RAP Act in the House of Representatives is a crucial step forward in the ongoing battle to stop the weaponization of creative expression as a prosecution tactic.”

For too long, the justice system has shown bias towards rap music; it’s time to put a stop to this unlawful practice. The safeguards in this measure would ensure that all artists may create freely without fear that their work will be criminalized, and we are grateful to Representatives Hank Johnson (D-GA) and Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) for their leadership on this subject.

Universal Music Group, Sony Music Group, Warner Music Group, Atlantic Records, and many other record labels, as well as the Recording Academy (the Grammys), support the proposal.

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