Practically unknown rapper Montana Millz, who sings the song 'Sell Drugz,' was arrested last week for selling drugs. In what has to be more than simply a coincidence, the rap artist's drug-friendly tune is about how he and his accomplices are now doing financially well because of selling drugs.
Millz, also known as Michael Persaud, was arrested along with an accomplice Tiffany Irizarry, in Lebanon, Pennsylvania after selling heroin to an undercover cop. Persaud had been under investigation for nearly a month when he was arrested and sold approximately 70 bags of heroin to the undercover cop during that time. When the police raided the rapper's motel room, they found over two ounces of heroin.
Freedom of Speech Versus Self Incrimination?
When an artist talks about illegal activity, frequently, it is presumed by the public to be fiction, or part of the creative license granted to artists to embellish or appropriate the truth for the sake of art. In the case of Millz, while his lyrics to his song "Sell Drugz" do not specifically explain what or how he was selling the heroin, there's a chance that it could be used as evidence against him. Rappers have a bit of a history of writing lyrics that implicate themselves.
About two years ago, rapper Bobby Shmurda was charged with multiple criminal charges, which seemed related to many of his gangsta rap lyrics, which he had commented to reporters were actually true stories. Generally, unless there is a strong nexus between the lyrics and the crime, it is likely that the lyrics will be considered inadmissible. Shmurda was sentenced to seven years last month on a plea deal.
Basically, artists do have freedom of speech, and there are protections that might prevent their lyrics from being used against them, but it is probably best to not admit to committing crimes while being recorded. While a defendant cannot be compelled to testify against themselves, when an artist's work is as damning of an admission of guilt as Millz's song, it makes the legal defense much more difficult.