One of YNW Melly’s Lawyers Believes Rapper’s Lyrics May Be Used Against Him in Court
Jason Rogers Williams, who is one of a few lawyers representing YNW Melly in his first-degree murder case, believes the rapper's lyrics could be used against him in court.
"It’s unclear, but [lyrics have] certainly been a large part of what has come from that office right now," Williams explained to XXL on Friday (April 5). "They have not used lyrics in court yet, but that seems to be the plan based on what we’ve heard so far."
Having previously represented Boosie BadAzz, Williams is familiar with the notion of rap lyrics being used as evidence in criminal cases. Prosecutors in Boosie's 2011 murder trial famously brought up multiple songs where the Baton Rouge, La. rapper spit about murder, using the lyrics to help make their case against the rapper.
Williams sees potential parallels between the tactics of Boosie's prosecutors and prosecutors in Melly's case.
"When you look at the police behavior, when you look at the allegations that somehow rap lyrics are potential evidence or suggestive culpability or real life actions—those similarities are present in this case as well, and they were present in Boosie’s case," Williams said.
He continued: "The thing that some law enforcement folks just haven’t realized yet is that rap lyrics are just lyrics, just like rock song lyrics are just lyrics, just like Al Pacino’s in his script in Scarface are just words on a page! However, when the person who is rapping is young and African-American, they somehow want to make a leap that these things are not just creative."
YNW Melly has been behind bars since February, when he was arrested for the alleged murder of his two friends and groupmates, 21-year-old YNW Sakchaser (born Anthony Williams) and 19-year-old YNW Juvy (Christopher Thomas Jr.). Miramar, Fla. police believe that Melly shot the two men and that his friend YNW Bortlen (born Cortlen Henry) helped him make the scene of the shooting appear as a drive-by. Bortlen was arrested one day before Melly.
Melly's arrest was followed by a significant bump in his music streams. That surge in streams resulted in an RIAA platinum certification for his 2017 single, "Murder on My Mind." On the song, Melly tells the fictional story of a time he murdered one of his friends.
Many of Melly's fans have speculated that he was discussing the murders he has been charged with on the song. However, the ominous track was released more than one year before the two men were killed.
YNW Melly, who sits in Broward County Jail, has pleaded not guilty to two counts of first-degree murder in the case. Bortlen meanwhile, has pleaded not guilty to the same murder charges as well as two counts of accessory after the fact.
A trial date for this case has yet to be set. XXL has reached out to the Broward Sheriff's Office and the State Attorney for comment.
Here's the Ultimate Guide to Rappers With Acronyms in Their Name