“I’m grateful for it. I feel like it needs to happen all around the country, especially what’s going on in Atlanta right now,” he told TMZ. “But I feel like it needs to happen. I feel like rap is targeted the most. Rap is expression.”
He continued, “When they say rap can be used against you, it limits your art because sometimes people just wanna be free.”
Artists like Jay-Z, Meek Mill, Killer Mike, Fat Joe, and Kelly Rowland have all shown support for the bill, which wouldn’t completely prohibit lyrics from being used as evidence. Instead, lyrics have to be proven to be “literal, rather than figurative or fictional,” according to Pitchfork.
Shmurda was victim to his lyrics being used in his legal case—in particular, the song “Hot N***a,” and he subsequently spent six years in prison for weapons possession. Similarly, the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office in Georgia is using lyrics in the RICO charges against Young Thug, Gunna, and at least 26 other YSL members in a 56-count indictment.
Other rappers have spoken up about the importance of the bill, including No Limits rapper Mac Phipps, who was convicted of manslaughter in 2001, with prosecutors using his lyrics as evidence.
“Criminal cases should be tried on factual evidence not the creative expression of an artist, but unfortunately hip hop has been held to a very different standard in the criminal justice system within the last three decades,” Phipps said. “The passage of the New York bill gives me hope that situations like the one that I faced will be prevented from happening to other artists in the future.”