Roommates, we recently saw Jay Z use his influence to help a sixth grader out of his legal trouble, and it looks like a few other familiar names are following suit!
Pittsburgh rapper, Jamal Knox, is currently serving a two year jail sentence after Pittsburgh authorities deemed his song “F***k the Police” a threat to the safety of police officers. Now, Meek Mill, 21 Savage, Chance The Rapper, Yo Gotti and Fat Joe are fighting for his freedom!
The group of rappers sent a document to the Supreme Court on Wednesday, in hopes it will consider reviewing Knox’s case, and offering to give a “primer on rap music and hip-hop”.
“A person unfamiliar with what today is the nation’s most dominant musical genre or one who hears music through the auditory lens of older genres such as jazz, country or symphony,” the document reads. “May mistakenly interpret a rap song as a true threat of violence.”
After being arrested in 2012 on gun and drug charges, Knox found himself once again in the hands of authorities when he rapped ‘let’s kill these cops cause they don’t do us no good’. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court affirmed Knox’s conviction was just, and that The First Amendment does not protect all speech.
In an interview with NY Times, rapper and political activist, Killer Mike, expressed the disparities between the law and the treatment of rap music because of racism.
“Outlaw country music is given much more poetic license than gangster rap, and I listen to both,” he said. “And I can tell you that the lyrics are dark and brutal when Johnny Cash describes shooting a man in Reno just to watch him die.”
“It’s no different from stop and frisk,” he said. “It’s another form of racial profiling.”
Knox’s lawyers wrote in their petition seeking review, expressing that the song lyrics were “never meant to be read as bare text on a page, rather, the lyrics were meant to be heard, with music, melody, rhythm and emotion.”
Once Knox’s appeal was denied, the coalition of rappers stepped in. They hope that Knox’s song will be better understood as an expression of his art, and his rap persona, rather than something punishable by law.