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A few of rap’s heavyweights are joining forces to help a former Mississippi high school student, who they feel is being persecuted under the law – and it’s all in the name of hip-hop.

Taylor Bell recorded a song back in 2011 that accused two high school coaches of sexual misconduct, rapping in part: “Looking down girls’ shirts, drool running down your mouth / Going to get a pistol down your mouth.” Taylor was suspended because of his lyrics, and is now suing to get the blemish removed from his record.

T.I., Killer Mike, and Big Boi are on Taylor’s side, coming to his defense by signing a brief for the Supreme Court.

The brief reads, in part:

“The government punished a young man for his art — and, more disturbing, for the musical genre by which he chose to express himself.”

From Pitchfork:

In the brief, Mike wrote that “anyone who is learned in law is capable of supporting art and lyrics, whether you agree with them or not, and actual human behavior.” He cited Johnny Cash (“Folsom Prison Blues”) and Bob Marley (“I Shot The Sheriff”) as two artists who did not literally commit the crimes they sang about, and said that when rap lyrics are treated differently, poor young men are persecuted “based on their class and color.”

The site continues:

Now, Bell is suing to have the suspension removed from his record. (It’s worth noting that four female students signed affidavits accusing the coaches.)

A First Amendment challenge was rejected by the U.S. Court of Appeals in August, as the New Orleans panel cited his “incredibly profane and vulgar” lyrics. The Supreme Court will decide in February whether to hear the case, the Times reports. 

We’ll have to stay tuned for the outcome, but we hope justice is served.

SOURCE: Pitchfork | PHOTO CREDIT: Instagram, Getty

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