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Englewood, New Jersey, United States

Englewood, New Jersey, United States
Band Hip Hop

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"PBS NewsHour- Rappers Respond: "This Is How We Express Ourselves""

A man shoots his foe in the head over and over again, leaving him to bleed out on the street. The man has no remorse. He even brags about it.

Only this man isn’t real. He’s a character in a rap song written by Vonte Skinner, who was sentenced to 30 years in a New Jersey state penitentiary for the attempted murder of Lamont Peterson.

Across the country, police and prosecutors are increasingly using a suspect’s own rap lyrics as evidence in criminal cases. Law enforcement argues that they help establish motive or intent and in some cases even contain confessions. But critics argue that rap music is just that: music. It’s not a diary.

NewsHour recently reported on this growing trend and the issues of relevance, prejudice and first amendment protections that are being weighed when the criminal justice system probes lyrics.

We wanted to know more about what artists and others in the hip hop industry think about this trend and the various arguments about why it does or does not make good evidence.

To do this, we got help from Hot 97 radio station in New York. We asked their DJs and up-and-coming rappers to share their thoughts on the issue.

Here’s what a handful of them had to say:

Ebro Darden, Host Hot 97, New York: My concern is simple: if there is no hard evidence to support someone being guilty of a crime besides some potentially fictional lyrics to songs, then it should not be admissible. Everyone knows prosecutors need to maintain a high conviction rate for their own resume to matter, so jumping to using rap songs is easier than getting some communities to participate in convictions.



Sule, New Jersey: As musicians, the art that we publicize to the world should be used to spread positivity and knowledge. Some artists started to use music as a get-rich-quick scheme, portraying a life they may not have lived. With that in mind, using those very same lyrics that simulate an imaginary lifestyle to link them to a crime is wrong. I wouldn’t necessarily say “Gangsta Rap” has a role in the music industry. Many artists come from rough neighborhoods and are simply expressing their story, painting a picture with words. I’m pretty sure their intentions of making a “Gangsta Rap” song aren’t to inspire the youth to do harm to one another. Personally, with that being said, the “role” of Gangsta Rap is to entertain, just as much as the next genre. It’s unfortunate because sometimes the entertainment that is displayed can take a turn for the worst, as shown in previous incidents. - PBS NewsHour


"EP Review: The Renaissance"

Sule has made history with “The Renaissance”. Ever since he released his debut EP last month its been getting much praise from the east coast Underground Hip Hop scene. His flow is very sharp, steady, conscious and articulate with a great and unique delivery. His heavy east coast Hip Hop influenced style is extremely smooth with all the real organic elements that Hip Hop has to offer. Clearly he is one MC that is taking this Hip Hop thing serious in New Jersey, allowing his music speak for itself. His beat selection is really impressive, all beats have a mixture of modern and classic conscious Hip Hop sounds. The first 2 tracks are hella fire “Wish I Was a Kid” & “Off That” allowing all listeners to immediately listen to his great music.
You can’t go wrong by adding Sule to your rotation. He has clearly proved that he is a force to be reckoned with . Being able to push quality Hip Hop, especially being his debut project is extremely difficult to say the least. But for Sule it no biggie, He is a quality Hip Hop MC plain and simple. We recommend “The Renaissance” EP to all Hip Hop lovers EAST AND WEST COAST. - UndergroundHipHopBlog.com


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