Supreme Court rejects First Amendment case involving Pittsburgh rapper Jamal Knox’s lyrics

Last month, Killer Mike, Chance the Rapper, 21 Savage and more defended Knox’s lyrics as “a work of poetry.”

April 15, 2019
Supreme Court rejects First Amendment case involving Pittsburgh rapper Jamal Knox’s lyrics Zach Gibson/Getty Images

The Supreme Court has declined to open the case of Jamal Knox v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for further review, CNN reports. The case stems from the lyrical content of a 2012 song "Fuck The Police" that Knox released under the pseudonym Mayhem Mal. In 2014, prosecutors accused Knox of terroristic threats and intimidating witnesses, and he was sentenced to 2-6 years in prison.

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Back in March, the case gained public traction when Killer Mike banded together a crew of noteworthy rappers (including Meek Mill, 21 Savage, Chance the Rapper, Yo Gotti, Fat Joe, and Styles P) to contribute to an amici curiae in defense of Knox's lyrics: “This is a work of poetry... it is not intended to be taken literally, something that a reasonable listener with even a casual knowledge of rap would understand.” Read their entire primer here.

Supreme Court rejects First Amendment case involving Pittsburgh rapper Jamal Knox’s lyrics