Rap Lyrics Have Now Become Admissible Evidence In The Courtroom

Jesse Williams

By Jesse Williams

Jesse Williams

10 Jan 2021

The State of Maryland’s highest court ruled that rap lyrics may be admitted in court as evidence of a defendant’s guilt. 

The case involves the January 2017 killing of George Forrester, who was shot by a drug dealer after he attempted to buy cocaine with a counterfeit bill. Three weeks before trial, Montague used a jailhouse telephone to record a rap verse, which was then uploaded to Instagram. At Montague’s trial, the State of Maryland introduced the telephone recording of the lyrics as evidence of Montague’s guilt, and Montague was convicted and sentenced to a combined fifty years for second-degree murder and use of a firearm in a crime of violence.

The focus on rap, a genre invented by Black Americans and predominately authored by Black Americans could be described as discriminatory. The irony of it all is that historically rap was used to highlight systemic inequalities such as racial biases in the courtroom.

The specification of rap is also odd considering there are a plethora of genres like Rock, Heavy Metal and even Pop that also perpetuate violence through their lyrics. These genres are allowed to to live in the context of fantasy but rap will no longer be afforded that same benefit of the doubt.