Rap can be used to prove a point, but should it be used as evidence in court? It’s a hotly debated issue in the United States and has been met with heavy criticism as a violation of an artist’s right to freedom of expression.  

Here are five times that an artist’s lyrics have been scrutinised by the law:

5) Lawrence Montague

A rapper based in Maryland, US, was on trial for a murder committed in 2017.  Prosecution attorneys used the rapper’s lyrics as evidence in the trial:

I’ll be playin’ the block b-tch

And if you ever play with me

I’ll give you a dream, a couple shots snitch


It’s like hockey pucks the way I dish out this

It’s a .40 when that b-tch goin’ hit up sh-t

The lyrics, recorded with a jailhouse phone three weeks before the trial, were successful in convicting the rapper of second-degree murder.  He was served a 50 year prison sentence.

4) Young Thug 

In May of 2022, Young Thug was arrested (along with 22 other rappers on his label) for committing or conspiring to commit crimes including drug trafficking, armed robbery and murder.  Lyrics from his song ‘Anybody’ were compiled as part of the evidence for the arrest: 

“I never killed anybody,


But I got somethin’ to do with that body.”

Other songs, including, ‘Slime Shit’ and ‘Original Slime Shit’, also had lyrics that were cited as evidence.  The Grammy-winning artist is currently awaiting trial. 

3) Snoop Dogg 

In 1993, Snoop Dogg was on trial for first-degree, after his bodyguard (travelling in Snoop’s car) allegedly shot and killed a rival gang member. Prosecutor’s cited lyrics from a skit in Snoop’s release ‘Murder Was The Case’:

“Man, hand me my motherf*****g Glock man,

 give me another clip,


Cause I’m gonna smoke this fool”

Ultimately Snoop and his bodyguard were found not guilty.

2) Boosie Badazz

In 2012, Boosie was arrested by police and accused of paying a 17-year-old henchman to murder a man by the name of Terry Boyd.  Boosie’s lyrics from a 2009 recording (put down hours before the murder) were used as evidence by the prosecution:

“Any n***a who ever tried to play me, 

they dead now”


Boosie was found not guilty after just an hour of jury deliberation.

1) Tay-K 

In January 2017, Tay-K was put on house arrest, where he awaited trial for murder.  But just a couple of days before the hearing, he cut off his ankle monitor and fled.  

His song, ‘The Race’ was written (and the music video filmed) while he was a fugitive.  

Tay-K was later caught, and lyrics from the song were admitted into court proceedings:

“Pop a n***a, then I go out my way


Do the dash, then I go out the way

Rob a n***a shoes, rob a n***a lace

We tryna see a hunnid bands in our face”

The song charted on the Billboard 100, but Tay-K was found guilty and is currently serving life in prison.