Rappers Who Sell Music In Times Square Sue New York City & NYPD

Eight rappers sue the city of New York and NYPD for violating their First Amendment rights.

Eight rappers who sell music on Times Square have filed a lawsuit against New York City and 17 police officers in the New York Police Department because they claim their rights have been violated, according to the New York Daily News

Andre Jackson, 29, a Soundview emcee who says he's been arrested more than 30 times, says police officers "don’t want us making money out here." 

Jackson says there are also other reasons police officers have focused on them. "We’re having fun out here," Jackson said. "We’re doing something we’re allowed to do. I guess they had their dreams that they didn’t fulfill. Now we have our dreams and they want to shut us down...I want it to stop. They never arrest the spray-paint guys. They never arrest the guys who draw pictures of people. That’s considered art? My music should be considered art, too.”

Rappers interviewed by the Daily News say they have been booked despite complying with rules police officers have outlined, including a requirement that vendors stand next to tables to sell their CDs. They are mainly booked on charges of disorderly conduct and aggressive begging. Officers say rappers "aggressively shove CDs at pedestrians, block the sidewalk and follow potential customers down the street," according to the publication.

Rappers say these allegations are false and that their cases usually get dismissed. Others reportedly plead guilty to get out of jail faster. They say their sales should be protected by the First Amendment and that the NYPD is trying to block their freedom of speech. 

“They never have a witness statement," Jackson says. "They never put you in a photo array...I respect the law. But I don’t respect you trying to make your own law. You’re not a cop anymore. You’re a vigilante.”

A Law Department spokesperson addressed Jackson's claims. 

“Allegations are merely such until proven otherwise,” the spokesperson said.

Police representatives also say that the NYPD's enforcement treatment of the vendors has become more stringent after a 2009 incident. During the incident, Raymond "Ready" Martinez, a Times Square rapper and vendor, was involved in a shootout with a police officer. 

The eight rappers sued separately last year. Their lawsuits are now consolidated under one judge. 

Katie Smith, a former city attorney who is representing the vendors, says that "you don’t need to like their music or the way they distribute it to respect their constitutional rights." 

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51 Comments

  • Anonymous

    @ Germaine exactly. I've run into many of these rappers and they don't bother me, I don't need police to tell them I'm good, don't need the music, or might give them $10 & don't take the music, or take the music and check it out these clowns commenting have taken on their enemy's enemy

  • Anonymous

    Get a damn job!!

  • fh

    Why would anybody want to buy music they never heard before? Why would somebody want to support a artist they dont know? These guys are idiots, all theyre doing is aggresively begging for money because the product they're selling has no real value to random ppl, those cds should be free and even then I bet it would still be tough to get ppl to take them because nobody wants tht shit, quality free mixtapes come out daily, why would I pay for some random idiots cd?

    • fh

      Its one thing if the cds were free then it would make some sense but what those guys do is panhandle and its the equivalent to ppl begging for money on the streets and on the trains, I do not support those begging, these guys don't even have speakers or a radio or something so that u can listen to the shit, just here buy my cd smh dumbasses

    • fh

      ignorant? your delusional if you think that a good way to market your music and get it to the masses is by standing on the street and trying to shove the cds down ppls throats, if anything the business model is ignorant, those guys are idiots thinking that shit is gonna actually work. "hey guys i have an idea lets burn these cds and sell them on the street and if 1 person buys them then they'll show theyre friends and then the friends will come buy and the word will get it out and next thing u know we blow up." Lmao you fucking idiots good luck with that, get with the times maybe that shit wouldve worked in 1998 but this is 2014 dummies

    • Anonymous

      you ain't no music lover you're a lemming trying to fit in with the status quo, support the corporate interests w/o resistance in the name of popularity but look for the common man to give it away to you on his knees while he has to pass your morality exam and that train of thought goes far beyond some starving rappers in NYC all of these street rappers guys ain't legit but y'all are posting some programmed robot bullsh-t

    • Anonymous

      "Why would anybody want to buy music they never heard before? Why would somebody want to support a artist they dont know?" ^ this has to be the most ignorant comment I've ever read and that fool is calling it truth, lol they got some serious problems I tell you

  • K:O:S

    For once I support the police! I respect the fact, that these rappers, are trying to sell their CD's, to get discovered or to get some money, it's not easy for everyone to make a living in this world. But what I don't respect is the fact that they won't take no for an answer, as several others have already pointed out, they follow you down the street, calling you al kinds of bullshit and they show no respect at all. So for them to ask for respect and respect for their constitutional rights is simply pathetic!

  • Anonymous

    So they're not getting our money in Times Square, now they're trying to get taxpayer money through the back door

  • the don

    man fuck these dudes. they are aggressive and disrespectful if you dont buy their wack ass CDs'. almost had to smack one of these niggas for calling my wife a bitch because she wouldnt buy a CD. I came to her defense and he ran to his homies. These assholes need to get real jobs and stop begging!

  • Anonymous

    yeah, yeah, they annoy you, stopping your life just so you can cop a CD, "f-ck these bum ass n!ggas" but you ain't that far from being them with that job you covet, you got this life thing confused of course you're gonna have violators of the code of that hustle who don't use original music or a fair marketing plan in place to get sales, they're strong-arming sales, but to sit here and say f-ck them all is some pussy sh-t little girls were selling girl scout cookies in front of weed dispensaries (when weed is supposed to be illegal and not around kids), but you clowns are so f-cking programmed you want cops to stop dudes from selling a CD this is how lame you clowns look to someone who's eyes are open

    • Anonymous

      @Germaine Nigga please, the TV ain't following me down the street, cussing me out and begging me to buy it's CD's LMAO

    • Anonymous

      i got no problem if they wanna set up a lil table and sit there and let the customers come to them but leave me the fuck alone when im walking down the street if i want your music i will come to you

    • Germaine

      What dude was saying was actually on point. They should have the right to sell their wack Cds and all that. So you are telling me that even when just watching TV these aggressive companies aren't shoving toxic product down your throat? It's on your own terms when you watch TV but does that make it better? If one of theses dudes came up to me I would smack the shit out of him if he tried following me around but other than that I'm good. it's called entrepreneurship and this country was founded on it. Where these dudes went wrong was getting a permit. They could legally do this with an approved permit. The government wants their cut.

    • Anonymous

      people buying weed actually want girl scout cookies. they didnt have to harass them to sell a few boxes.

    • Anonymous

      Sounds to me like u got they dick wedged down ya throat pretty far, lol

  • Anonymous

    Hope they win the lawsuit, get the bread, buy some record contract and stay the fuck off the streets

  • Tyrone

    One of these dudes bugged me so much to buy his trash cd I ended up pushing that nigga away and I got arrested for that shit. Thats justice I guess. Im glad the cops is finally doing something right and clearing the sidewalks of these bums, their a fuckin embarrassment.

    • Z

      Sounds like the "bum" is someone who can't control his temper lol. Sorry they're doing something positive with their lives instead of hating like you do Tyrone.

  • WhoCares32

    F these dudes. Get your shitty music outta my face.

  • Anonymous

    These aren't legitimate businesses. Selling bootleg CD's to people walking by is suspect to begin with, and should be questioned by police. Doesn't mean they have to arrest them, but would you want somebody standing in front of your job hawking cheap music?

  • Anonymous

    I hate these fucks. NYPD doing something good for once.

  • anon

    none of yall have ever heard of any of them but yall keep saying there cds wack cuz there selling off the street?

  • Anonymous

    Boston B cap in the da bldg.....

  • LOL

    "Respect their rights" Right to hassle and hustle people to buy their crappy burned CD's. They should give them away for free to get a name & then try to make some coin. Bums.

  • Anonymous

    "you dont need to like their music or the way they distribute it to respect their constitutional rights" Yes I do, if your music's garbage I ain't gonna respect you

  • Anonymous

    "Andre Jackson, 29, a Soundview emcee who says he's been arrested more than 30 times, says police officers "dont want us making money out here."" No, u dumbass fuck nikka, WE don't want you out there tryna push us this bullshit u call music

  • Anonymous

    Fuck these strugglin ass niggaz and their garbage music, no mufucka I don't want no trash ass CD, y'all ain't gon never get on the industry this way you delusional fuckboys

  • Anonymous

    Lock all these annoying mufuckas up asap, it aint like they just ask you to buy their shit, they follow you down the block and be like "Nah man why you walkin away just hear me out check it wanna hear me freestyle c'mon man please buy my shit" F-O-H with these dudes go get a job

  • Anonymous

    I support the idea of this.. These cops are outta control out here. you could be next?

  • Anonymous

    they shoulda locked eminems ass for sellin out his trunk i guess

  • Anonymous

    man fuck these bum niggas always harassing a brother trying to walk down the street, "excuse me do you support underground hip-hop?"

  • Anonymous

    big big big lawsuit against the nyc. this will get settled out of court due to the fact they got arrested for not breaking the law. dam...I wish that was me. smh....

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