Killer Mike Lets Go Of Previously Unreleased 'Sunday Morning Massacres' Mixtape [Stream/Download]
Killer Mike Lets Go Of Previously Unreleased 'Sunday Morning Massacres' Mixtape [Stream/Download]

Killer Mike Continues To Right Wrongs In A New USA Today Op-Ed Defending Hip-Hop In America's Courtrooms

Lenny Kravitz, Grace Jones, Lauryn Hill, Lion Babe, Thundercat, SZA & More Rock The Afropunk Festival 2015 in Brooklyn, NY.

In a new USA Today column published Monday morning Killer Mike once again raised his voice against America's whitewashed status quo.  Citing "prosecutors' blatant mischaracterizations" of hip-hop, the column takes to task our justice system and its frequently unchecked abuse of rap lyrics, which have too often wrongfully cited as damning evidence against black men in courtrooms nationwide.

Mike's words were prompted by news that this month the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in Elonis v. U.S., a case revolving around amateur rapper Anthony Elonis and the drafted rap lyrics he posted to Facebook in 2010. Those lyrics mentioned Elonis's estranged wife were violent in nature, and prosecutors were able to convict the 27-year-old of communicating threats, despite his claims that the words were artistic fiction. He's now serving 44 months of jail time. "[I]n choosing Elonis, the justices have stumbled into a national debate about the expanding prosecution of rap music, which raises major concerns about the role of art and free speech in the justice system, as well as the commonly-held view that hip-hop culture is a threat to society" Mike's editorial details.

Mike's new piece, which was co-written along with University of Virginia professor Erik Nielson, is a scathing rebuke of how quick America is to condemn rap lyrics both in and outside of the courtroom. It rightly notes that for every tragedy of an MC being gunned down by enemies there are thousands of unsung examples of young people who are saved and strengthened by the hip-hop community and the hours upon hours of work they devote to their art. The essay's arguments culminates in this brief and brilliant paragraph:

No other fictional form — musical, literary or cinematic — is used this way in the courts, a concerning double standard that research suggests is rooted, at least in part, in stereotypes about the people of color primarily associated with rap music, as well as the misconception that hip-hop and the artists behind it are dangerous.

Mike's words couldn't have come at a more important time, as the nation continues to seethe with uproar over the decision by a grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri to not press charges against the police officer that shot and killed Michael Brown. Killer Mike delivered a passionate speech on stage during a Run the Jewels show that very night, and it seems that the ATL MC shows no signs of letting off or slowing down. The use of rap lyrics as "smoking gun" evidence by prosecutors is becoming a disturbing trend, one that Slate rightly pointed out as a debasement of both black artists and black society itself. One can only hope that Mike's words inspire the kind of changes our country so desperately needs.

Read the full USA Today Editorial, Poetic (In)Justice, here.