Killer Mike & Mac Phipps Head Up ‘Rap On Trial’ Symposium In New Orleans
The two famed rappers and activists were listed amongst numerous other speakers at the symposium, which occurs on November 1 at Dillard University.
“Join us on Tuesday, November 1st for the Rap On Trial Symposium at @dillarduniversity,” Phipps wrote on Instagram. “Hosted by the @crj_du, the event is being held to address the issue of law enforcement and prosecutors utilizing rap lyrics as evidence of a crime.”
He continued: “If you are an artist, a lawyer, law student, journalist or anyone that loves #HipHop, then you will want to be in the building!”
The panel includes events such as “Defending Lyrics In The Courtroom: A Question of Free Speech & Racial Bias” and “Protecting Your Art: A Panel For Hip Hop Artists & Musicians,” which will examine the hotly contested issue of prosecutors relying on lyrics in the courtroom to prove that a defendant is guilty of a crime.
It’s free to attend the event – reserve your place here.
The symposium comes after California Governor Gavin Newsom signed The Decriminalizing Artistic Expression Act into state law back in September, which will restrict the use of rap lyrics as evidence in court. This makes California the first state to almost fully ban lyrics from being used as evidence, although prosecutors can still rely on lyrics if they’re directly relevant to the facts of the case and “won’t inject racial bias into the proceedings.”
New York attempted to pass a similar bill in May but it failed to get approved by the Assembly.
300 Entertainment and Atlantic Records also took a stand over the summer when Kevin Liles and Atlantic’s COO Julie Greenwald launched a petition titled “Rap Music on Trial: Protect Black Art,” which focuses on how prosecutors have continuously attempted to use artists’ lyrics in a courtroom.
“In the indictment, Fulton County prosecutors argue that lyrics like ‘ready for war like I’m Russia’ are a confession of criminal intent,” the petition reads.
“In courtrooms across America, Black creativity and artistry is being criminalized,” Liles and Greenwald said in a joint statement. “With increasing and troubling frequency, prosecutors are attempting to use rap lyrics as confessions, just like they’re doing in this [YSL] case.”
Mac Phipps is personally no stranger to the tragedy of the criminal justice system. The former No Limit rapper was previously convicted of manslaughter in 2001 in relation to the murder of 19-year-old Barron Victor Jr., who was shot and killed at a club Phipps was set to perform at later that evening.
Despite a lack of evidence, Phipps was sentenced to 30 years in prison. He’s always maintained his innocence and was finally released on parole on June 22, 2021, after serving 20 years behind bars. He will release his new album The Son Of The City on October 31st, his first full-length project since 1999’s World War III.
“The wait is over! The Son of the City album is dropping on October 31st!” he wrote on Instagram. “A very special thank you to everyone that has continued to support over the years and to everyone who made this album possible.”
Meanwhile, Killer Mike announced on Monday (October 24) that he’s also returning with new music soon. The Run The Jewels rapper announced on IG that he’ll be dropping a new single on Wednesday (October 26) titled “Talk’n That Shit,” produced by Three 6 Mafia’s DJ Paul.