Although “Run The Jewels” rapper and activist Michael “Killer Mike” Render might have some political aspirations, he is, above all else, an MC. A new piece from The Huffington Post, which he co-wrote with scholars Andrea Dennis and Erik Nielson, examines the case of a once-promising and now-incarcerated rapper through the lens of the justice system’s racist biases.
Louisiana prosecutors sentenced McKinley “Mac” Phipps, a New Orleans-born rapper who released material on Master P’s famed No Limit Records, to 30 years in prison for allegedly killing a young concertgoer. As the piece highlights: “The state’s case was flimsy 15 years ago, but over the last couple of years, outside investigation has revealed evidence of grave police and prosecutorial misconduct, making Mac Phipps’ continued incarceration unfathomable to any rational person.”
The piece describes coercsion of witnesses and breaks down how prosecutors painted Phipps as a thug because of his lyrics—a practice that the U.S. Supreme Court has since disavowed:
Phipps’ case is not an outlier in any respect. Federal and state prosecutors nationwide use rap lyrics and rap videos in criminal trials to convict defendants. As we have noted before, it’s a practice that is alarming because of its scope, its effectiveness and its obvious dependence on racial stereotypes and biases.
Read the piece in full here.