Throughout history, artists have used music as an outlet to share their frustrations, even to the point of using lyrics that some believe advocate violence. There is no one particular genre that has perpetuated violence more than another, but overall rap and hip hop has bore the brunt of responsibility. Authorities have always had a keen eye on hip hop artists, especially those with violent lyrics, but as we live in an era where the line between art and reality is becoming less defined, people are being held to a different standard; a standard that has landed a few artists in jail.
A 26-year-old man named Christopher Maurice McCallum, rap name Jun Jun McCallum, was recently arrested over what some claim to be lyrics to a song, while others say he was threatening violence against the masses. According to a news report, McCallum posted a rap on Facebook where he said he was feuding with several others in the Ocala and Gainesville, Florida area. In the rap, he stated that he planned on attending a concert at the Eight Seconds venue where another artist named Yungeen Ace was performing and alluded to doing something violent there. Authorities claim that the lyrics also threatened a mass shooting at the University of Florida campus because McCallum said, “catch you at a Gator game and shoot the whole campus up.”
McCallum has been charged with threatening a mass shooting and is being held on $50,000 bond. After the Parkland school shooting in 2018, Florida laws were changed to make mass shooting threats a crime. Activists are drawing similarities between McCallum’s case and that of Jamal Knox, a young rapper who was arrested after he posted a song online. On the track, Knox stated that he would cause harm to local police officers, naming them specifically.
Knox was taken to court and sentenced to two to four years in prison over his lyrics that a judge stated wasn’t protected under the First Amendment. Killer Mike, 21 Savage, Chance The Rapper, Yo Gotti, and many other well-known rappers have banded together to help get Knox released from prison.