Member-supported news for Southern California
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Support for KPCC comes from:

A group of high-profile rappers want SCOTUS to take up a case on hip-hop lyrics and free speech

The US Supreme Court in Washington, DC, on January 22, 2019. - The US Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed US President Donald Trump's restrictions on transgender military service to take effect pending the outcome of litigation on the sensitive issue. The White House had asked the Supreme Court to intervene after lower courts prohibited Trump's administration from implementing the controversial restrictions. (Photo by Jim WATSON / AFP)        (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images
The US Supreme Court in Washington, DC, on January 22, 2019. - The US Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed US President Donald Trump's restrictions on transgender military service to take effect pending the outcome of litigation on the sensitive issue. The White House had asked the Supreme Court to intervene after lower courts prohibited Trump's administration from implementing the controversial restrictions. (Photo by Jim WATSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

The case involves Jamal Knox, a Philadelphia-based rapper known as Mayhem Mal, who was convicted on witness intimidation and the issuance of terroristic threats for a song he wrote that features lyrics like “let’s kill these cops ’cause they don’t do us no good.”

The case involves Jamal Knox, a Philadelphia-based rapper known as Mayhem Mal, who was convicted on witness intimidation and the issuance of terroristic threats for a song he wrote that features lyrics like “let’s kill these cops ’cause they don’t do us no good.” In the song, the rapper also named two police officers by name -- the same two officers that had arrested Knox on separate charges of gun and drug offenses in 2012.

Knox and his lawyers appealed the decision, but both the state Superior Court and the state Supreme Court upheld the conviction.

But the case is far from a done deal, if a group of high-profiled rappers have their say. Last week, hip-hop stars like Chance the Rapper, Meek Mill, Killer Mike and others filed an amicus brief in support of Knox, urging the U.S. Supreme Court to take up the case on First Amendment grounds.

Adam Liptak, reporter covering the Supreme Court for the New York Times, joins Larry to talk about the case -- and the chances of it reaching the High Court.   

Guest:

Adam Liptak, Supreme Court reporter for The New York Times, who has just written about the case, “Knox v. Philadelphia”; he tweets

Stay Connected