Antwain Steward; Photo: Khue Bui

There have been discussions before as to whether or not rap should be considered protected speech, and the argument in favor of it being so is fairly simple and straightforward. It’s an art form and a representation not an autobiographical tell all. But through a network of bigotry and racism fueled by a general lack of common sense, the law has once again been retarded and skewed to the point where it’s hard to even pinpoint what or who the justice system is actually fighting for.

Antwain Steward a.k.a. Twain Gotti was arrested and charged with the death of two people in Newport News, Va. The detective involved in the case claims that lyrics from the song “Ride Out” proves his involvement. The lyrics quoted in the affidavit: [LISTEN]

Everybody saw when I muthfuckin’ choked him

But nobody saw when I muthafuckin’ smoked him, roped him

Sharpened up the shank then I poked him

Aside from bad taste, there’s nothing criminal about it. The victims involved were in fact not choked or stabbed, but rather shot. Yet somehow the police saw this as a confessional. A confessional? An admission to something that in no way illustrates the murders that occurred. This type of witch hunting only exasperates the issues at hand.

The injustices in the rap world are numerous, one of them being that sleazy rappers are getting paid gobs of money to say and do even sleazier things. The fans too are part of it – wanting to live vicariously through these knuckleheads, thus fueling the vicious cycle of rap’s condemnation. But sound judgement needs to be practiced. If the law can do what they did to Antwain Steward then they can do it to anyone, and in a flawed justice system that puts us all in danger.

Twain Gotti may for all we know deserve to be in jail, but not for this. Not for these lyrics. To allow this to fly is a failure of the justice system, bringing us even closer to the dystopian world of Orwell’s 1984. These types of cases are enlightening in that it shows us just how far removed we are from a stable, civilized society.