Wednesday, July 3, 2024

B.G. Wins Court Battle: Free to Write Lyrics While Under Federal Supervision

A federal judge has rejected a request from prosecutors to prohibit rapper Christopher "B.G." Dorsey from promoting violence in his music while on supervised release, citing First Amendment concerns. However, U.S. District Judge Susie Morgan ruled that B.G. must submit copies of any new songs to the government for review before their release.

The ruling, issued Friday, is the latest development in a case that has sparked debate about an artist's right to free expression versus the government's responsibility to enforce the terms of supervised release. B.G., known for his 1990s hit "Bling Bling," came under scrutiny after performing with other rappers who have felony convictions and releasing lyrics that prosecutors said glorified violence.

In March, parole officers requested B.G.'s arrest for violating the terms of his supervised release, but he was later released on his own recognizance. Prosecutors asked Judge Morgan to impose restrictions on his lyrics, arguing they could undermine his rehabilitation.

B.G.'s attorneys argued that such restrictions would constitute an unconstitutional prior restraint on free speech. Judge Morgan agreed, stating that the condition "may be an unconstitutional prior restraint."

However, Judge Morgan acknowledged the government's concerns and ordered B.G. to submit his lyrics for review before release or promotion. If deemed inconsistent with his rehabilitation, prosecutors could request modifications to his supervised release terms.
B.G., a member of the Hot Boys rap group, was sentenced to 14 years in prison in 2012 for illegal gun possession and other charges. He was released to a halfway house in fall 2023 and began a two-year period of federal supervision on Feb. 1.

The case has drawn attention from other prominent artists like Megan Thee Stallion and Jay-Z, who have condemned the use of rap lyrics as evidence in criminal cases. B.G.'s attorneys expressed satisfaction with the ruling, emphasizing it allows him to continue his artistic work while addressing the terms of his supervision.

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