Rap Beef vs Freedom of Speech

Has rap beef elevated to a new level in 2018? Hip Hop is no stranger to controversy and the attention of the law but there’s a new revelation that’s breaking new ground for the genre. After 6 years of taking shots from G.O.O.D. Music President Pusha T, Drake finally fired back with a lyrical assault on his freestyle “Duppy”. While the internet was ablaze, Pusha T was polishing his lyrical exercise in what would become one of the most scathing rap battle replies with “The Story Of Adidon”. But did Pusha T go to far?
A recent Billboard story talked to First Amendment attorney James Chadwick, of Sheppard Mullin Ritcher & Hampton LLP, and what he says may surprise you. “There’s no automatic exemption from potential liability for expression in the context of an artistic performance… the context is still important, because the context may affect whether or not assertions are treated as assertions of fact or as non-factual assertions. Opinion is a general category, but it’s really more a question of whether or not a court would treat a statement as likely being understood by the audience as assertions of true fact, as opposed to someone just mouthing off, rhetorical hyperbole, exaggeration.”
To simplify, if Pusha T’s claims that Drake was going to launch his new Adidas line in honor of his alleged son, and Pusha announcing that interfered with Drake and adidas’ business in any manner, then either Drake or adidas could take legal action against the Push. Yikes! Is a rap battle really worth all of that? Only time will tell.

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