Site not look beautiful? Click here

As We See It

Rappers beware: Your lyrics can be used against you in court

Image

This time, it’s not art. It’s evidence. Last week the Nevada Supreme Court ruled to uphold the first-degree murder conviction of Nevada rapper Deyundrea “Khali” Holmes, who appealed because a song he wrote while in jail was allowed as evidence.

That aptly titled song, “Drug Deala,” was found by the court to be very specific to the crime he was convicted of—the 2003 robbery and murder of Kevin “Mo” Nelson. Despite Holmes’ argument that he was just riffing on standard rap clichés, the court disagreed.

It’s not the first time rappers have been taken to task—and to prison—for their violent lyrics. In 2006, wannabe rapper Ronell Wilson was convicted of murdering two undercover police officers. While he never got a record deal, Wilson’s raps, scribbled in notebooks, were presented as evidence.

Holmes’ defense poses an intriguing question: Would most rappers rather be remembered as a felon ... or a hack?

Share
Photo of Ken Miller

Ken Miller is Las Vegas Weekly's associate editor, having previously served as assistant features editor at the Las Vegas Sun ...

Get more Ken Miller

Commenting Policy

  • The choreographer extraordinaire talks working on Steve Wynn's ShowStoppers, researching for Showgirls and teaching Tom Cruise to spank some air booty in Tropic Thunder.

  • This is one party Nevada doesn’t want to see end.

  • The fallacy of the failed “family-friendly” era is as absurd as it is infuriating.

  • Get More As We See It Stories
Top of Story