Jamal Knox is currently embroiled in Jamal Knox v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, a Supreme Court case revolving around “terroristic threats” in his rap lyrics, according to the New York Times. In 2014, when the rapper was 19, he was sentenced to 2-6 years in prison. Prosecutors alleged his lyrics were specifically directed at Pittsburgh police officers.
Rappers like Meek Mill, Chance The Rapper, Run The Jewels’ Killer Mike, 21 Savage, and Yo Gotti, among others, have recently filed a brief in the Supreme Court case in support of Knox. They’ve included a “primer on rap music and hip-hop” and explanations of the lyrics in question.
“This is a work of poetry. It is not intended to be taken literally, something that a reasonable listener with even a casual knowledge of rap would understand,” the rappers wrote. “It is told from the perspective of two invented characters in the style of rap music, which is (in)famous for its exaggerated, sometimes violent rhetoric, and which uses language in a variety of complex ways. It is not intended to be taken literally, something that a reasonable listener with even a casual knowledge of rap would understand.”
Read the full brief here.