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Rappers have for years insisted that their lyrics are just as much art as the creation of any other performer. Although that may be the true, it is also true that a rapper’s lyrics may turn state’s evidence if he’s ever accused of a crime.
A jury convicted rapper Ronald (Ra Diggs) Herron on drug trafficking, racketeering and mυrdering three rival rappers.
Although the conviction probably means Herron will spend the rest of his life behind bars, Herron did not offer much by way of reaction, according to the The New York Daily News.
Prosecutors in the case played Herron’s rap lyrics for the jury where he claimed to have gotten away with mυrder and admitted plotting revenge against rival gangsters. In this sense, jurors agreed not only with the evidence, but also viewed Herron’s rap lyrics as an admission of guilt.
This could impact future cases considering that many rappers include viοlent lyrics about selling drugs and other illegal activities in their music.
Lehigh University professor James Peterson argued that the rap lyrics were a form of art and shouldn’t be taken seriously, but the jury obviously wasn’t persuaded by that argument. Herron even testified that his lyrics were an “exaggeration” but he was still found guilty of 21 counts after the federal court came back with its verdict.
“Ronald Herron and his gang of thugs preyed on their community while glorifying their criminal lifestyle,” said Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch.
“He styled himself a rap artist, but the jury’s verdict makes clear who Herron really is, a drug dealer and mυrderer who sought power through fear and intimidation.”
Herron will be sentenced on October 1.