Photo: HipHopEnquirer

In 2014 alone there were numerous cases that saw lyrics used in court as evidence, in some instances as a means to indict — Markest D. Thompson, Antwain Steward, and Vonte Skinner to name a few. The most recent one involves multi-platinum rapper Christopher Bridges, aka Ludacris.

Ludacris found himself in court not for any violent offense, but for something rather noble, fighting for custody of his one-year-old daughter Cai. During the proceedings Judge Dorothy Downs recited lyrics from “Dancin’ Dirty” (off the mixtape IDGAF), reading the entire second verse for the courtroom to hear: [LISTEN]

Cuz she asked me for a drink and I’m damn sure fin’ to po’ it/I’m a, make it strong, she said she like it fruity/In another 30 minutes I’ll be feelin’ on her booty/An hour after that I’ll have her twisted like a cyclone/Legs wrapped around me til she squeeze me like a python/I call that slizzer we both been gone off that liquor/She let down all her defenses and yes I give her the business/With the quickness she came to her senses, while I’m tappin’ and snappin’ pictures/Relentless but so persistent now she said it’s just Ludacris

Grandstanding for all, she then confronted Ludacris about the content. “You’re talking about date rape there, aren’t you,” said Downs. “Would you like for Cai to have this experience with a young man?” To which Ludacris responded “No ma’am…when Cai becomes an adult, if she wants to have a good time, then that’s her right as an adult.” Ludicrous ultimately won custody but not without being made an example of — that no one, not even celebrities are exempt from unconstitutional grilling.

Opinions vary on the matter. There is the angle of constitutional rights and creative freedom, an argument made by Killer Mike in a recent op-ed piece for USA Today. Then there are those who believe that if acts of violence are put out for public consumption, then the artist or whoever is subject to scrutiny. Both sides contain rational ideas, but one is paving the way for a larger injustice.

The judge had a point — making someone accountable for their words, creatively driven or otherwise, seems fair. But as with the other cases there is an important lesson to be learned — that no one is safe, that it’s not a matter of if they’re listening but to what extent and to what end.

Our words and opinions are being used against us. And if there’s one thing the justice system has taught us is that anything can be fabricated to look like truth, woven together in a way that lacks context or understanding.

This loophole puts everyone at risk, whether you’re a multi-platinum selling artist or an average joe with a voice of your own. Don’t agree with status quo? Then be prepared to fight it out in court. It’s a dubious state of affairs that extends the reach of big brother even further.