Rapper and activist Killer Mike says that rap lyrics shouldn’t be used as criminal evidence in court cases, amid the high-profile detainments of Atlanta-based rappers Young Thug and Gunna.
In an interview with ABC News published on Saturday, Killer Mike, whose real name is Michael Render, said that Young Thug used his rapping career to escape his troubled upbringing on the streets of Atlanta, the city where Render grew up as well.
“[Young Thug] came out of a very desperate situation,” Render, half of the hit duo Run the Jewels, told ABC News. “The side of town he comes from — Cleveland Avenue, southeast Atlanta — has been wrought with poverty forever … he managed to escape the streets using rap lyrics, and he’s managed to help people change their lives.”
“Young Thug — that’s a character that Jeffery Williams created … but Jeffery Williams is a father,” Render added, using Young Thug’s legal name. “He’s a human being that’s capable of love, care and compassion.”
Young Thug and Gunna, whose real name is Sergio Kitchens, were among the more than two dozen individuals charged with racketeering by authorities last month, with prosecutors alleging that Williams founded a street gang and promoted its lifestyle through music and social media posts.
The indictment unsealed against them in Fulton County, Ga., includes lyrics from both artists’ music.
“These lyrics are no more than braggadocio rap lyrics,” Render told ABC. “It is no more than Killer Mike saying I’m a killer on the mic.”
Both rappers have been denied bail and are set to appear in court in January, ABC noted.
“For now, I don’t have my freedom. But I am innocent. I am being falsely accused and will never stop fighting to clear my name!” the “Pushin P” Kitchens said in a statement, adding, “Nothing will stop me from chasing my dreams, I won’t stop being a good person, even if some unnamed and unknown accusers want the world to see me as a bad person.”
Render, who won a Grammy award with acclaimed hip-hop duo OutKast, said that hip-hop is a form of art, noting that authorities targeting Black art in criminal cases is a part of dehumanizing Black people in the U.S, according to ABC News.
Render said, “Hip hop is not respected as an art because Black people in this country are not recognized as full human beings. If we allow the courts to prosecute these men based on characters they created and stories of pretend that they tell in rhyme then next, they’ll be at your door.”
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