Lil Nas X Uses Chart-Topping 'Industry Baby' To Stump for Bail Reform

Around half a million Americans are stuck at any given time in pretrial detention, often because they can’t afford freedom.


Lil Nas X (with Jack Harlow) has got one of the hottest rap hits in the country at the moment with just-released "Industry Baby" and its audacious prison-themed video that takes familiar hip-hop tropes and gays the heck out of it in the best possible way.

But the 22-year-old rapper is angling for attention for more than just himself. He's using the jail focus of the video to advocate for much-needed bail reform, and he's partnering with The Bail Project to raise more funds to help free needy people from pretrial detention.

Bail is supposed to be a system that makes sure people who are released from jail after being arrested show up for court and behave themselves while they're awaiting trial. But in many places across the United States, cash bail demands have become a system for keeping people who don't have resources trapped behind bars not because they're dangerous or flight risks, but because they don't have the money.

The result is a system that essentially punishes people, particularly poor minorities, before they're ever convicted and makes a mockery out of the idea of presumed innocence. Some courts are ruling the practice unconstitutional. People who are stuck in pretrial detention often end up accepting bad plea deals that saddle them with harsher sentences and punishments than they'd get if they were free to fight the charges. And if they do manage to arrange for bail through a bail bondsman, they permanently lose a chunk (typically around 10 percent) of the money for the privilege of being free. They do not get this money back if a jury acquits them of the charges.

America at any given point has about half a million people locked up in pretrial detention. These are people who have only been charged, not convicted, of a crime. Some of them are dangerous, and some are flight risks and probably should remain behind bars. But many people are trapped simply because they can't afford to pay. Some states, like New Jersey and California, have reformed their bail systems so that either cash bail isn't required in most cases or judges are obligated to determine a defendant's financial status so that bail isn't set at an amount he or she cannot afford.

Bail funds across the country also assist in getting people out of pretrial detention. They operate by covering a defendant's total bail. Assuming that defendant behaves while freed, the bail fund will get the money back, and it can be recycled for a new defendant.

The Bail Project is a national organization helping cover the costs of getting people out of jail in cities across the country. They've helped pay bail for nearly 17,000 people. Lil Nas X has jumped aboard with the Bail X Fund to help raise more money.

"This isn't just theoretical for me," he explains in a prepared statement. "It's personal. I know the pain that incarceration brings to a family. And I know the disproportionate impact that cash bail has on black Americans."

Lil Nas X's promotion has raised close to $45,000 already. That money probably won't go terribly far on its own, but remember it can be recycled from defendant to defendant. And more importantly, Lil Nas X's involvement massively raises the profile of the bail reform movement.

NEXT: The U.S. Is Trying To Keep Out Mexicans Who Want To Sell Their Blood Plasma

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  1. Something something Jan 6 attackers.

    1. That's different because the state said so and Reason is now pro-the state.

    2. What does libertarianism say should be done with terrorists? I'm genuinely curious.

      1. Well, they let off, virtually scot free, all the domestic terrorists, that rioted, burned, looted, caused more than $2B in damages, and killed many people, over the summer of 2020.
        Why are ones, who did a comparatively minuscule amount of damage and actually lost the life of one of their own, to a murdering police officer, being held, in solitary confinement, with no bail allowed, at all?
        If you commies didn't have double standards, you'd have no standards, at all.

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  2. The continued avoidance of a certain topic. My guess is either the sugar daddy said no or the larger trillion dollar ad company. Amoral billionaires.

    1. I suspect it's fear of lost advertising revenue related to public opinion if they were to state a civil liberties argument. And fewer invitations to social gathering, reduced chance at other media outlets.

      1. Why is anyone pretending the Reason staff isn't composed of totalitarian leftists (sometimes) trying to play the role of "libertarian" for spin and gaslighting purposes?

        1. Because not everyone is a paranoid conspiracy-website addict?

          If you think they're all out to get you, maybe the problem is you.

  3. But in many places across the United States, cash bail demands have become a system for keeping people who don't have resources trapped behind bars not because they're dangerous or flight risks, but because they don't have the money.

    I'm still concerned about this. Bail basically changes a binary to a spectrum, right? It changes either out on their own recognizance, or in jail until hearing into a spectrum where they pay some money they wish to recoup, and so are incentivized to show up to court. This is my understanding of it. If this is about a bail that folks pay and never get to recoup, then I misunderstand and would agree that fines like that are troublesome.

    But, let's assume bail is still a term for a nut someone awaiting trial puts down so they show up for their trial. It's easy to see how that system could become corrupted, and I'm very open to it having shifted to a negative place. I still fear that getting rid of it entirely, which appears to be most of the reforms I've seen discussed, forces the spectrum back into a binary. This then leads to the risk that, erring on the side of caution, folks that would have been let out on bail previously, are not jailed to await trial.

    I am very curious to hear thoughts on this. I've expressed it both on here and NRO and haven't seen much analysis of this risk when I've looked for it. I imagine some folks must have thought of this.

    1. I think that bail works for the working man that screws up. He gets to go back to work and feed his family. He will have to appear and that is always a giant PIA, even if you beat the case. Most people learn their lesson.
      It does not work for the typical gang banger or lifelong criminal. They just go right back to crime. Chicago has had 31 shootings and murders already this year committed by people out on bail or on the bracelet.

      1. I do not know. I'm suspicious of bail as well, since it can be very discretionary. I really just want to see some analysis of it. I said my comment as a genuine concern, and something of which I sincerely don't know the answer.

    2. I’m still concerned about this. Bail basically changes a binary to a spectrum, right?

      Yes. We're very eager to toss out a system which has worked relatively well for over a hundred years (if I'm correct).

      And there's nothing stopping judges from reducing or eliminating bail as they see fit-- with the system that's in place. Seattle has almost entirely eliminated bail, no law required. They just... did it.

      1. I really tend to prefer a justice system with less requirements, but more guidance AND more discretion. Removing bail hurts this in my mind, as does things like mandatory minimums. It's important to watch judges and the court system for abuse, but the law really is individual in its ultimate application and allowing for variation at this point leads to better law, not worse over the long run I think.
        I'm willing to be proven wrong on this, but if crime becomes a concern again, as it appears to be doing, then a lack of opportunity for bail will likely lead to more people in jail out of an increased erring towards caution.

        Either that, or the other bad side which is letting people out who probably should not be out on their own recognizance.

        1. Otherwise known as "innocent people."

          Which other innocent people do you want to lock in a cage for your own peace of mind?

          1. Yes, quotation marks belong around "innocent" when you are talking about the criminals being let back on the streets.
            Are you idiot enough to not see the explosion in crime has happened coincidentally with the no bail programs?

            1. I suppose you can argue that people who haven't been judged guilty of any crime should be locked up in a cage in case they might be judged so, but you can take that argument to and keep it off a libertarian website.

      2. Interesting numbers from the real estate guys in Seattle, who may have a slight bias:
        Seattle crime rates are 104% higher than the national average
        Violent crimes in Seattle are 54% higher than the national average
        In Seattle you have a 1 in 20 chance of becoming a victim of crime
        Seattle is safer than 9% of the cities in the United States.

        And yet -
        Year over year crime in Seattle has decreased by 13%

        1. Iirc their murder rate spiked in 2020.

    3. My big problem is the whole plea bargain industry and how bail relates to that. Take this plea and get out in 3 months or sit in jail for 6 months and then get a 9 month sentence. I have yet to see a good bail system reform though - always seems like it is fighting a symptom and not the disease. End the drug war and then much of the problems stemming from it will fix themselves.

      1. Absolutely. I really don't know how to deal with prosecutionary discretion though. I guess, my biggest thought is despite its flaws we have a pretty good system in place now, and the road to improvement is through degrees, not revolutions.

    4. I think it's important to point out that this isn't about eliminating bail entirely, just cash bail. So instead of only letting someone out of jail if they have the cash, then the person could be let out of jail based on other criteria. Such as a requirement to wear an ankle monitor, or other behavioral restrictions. Instead of using cash alone, or even cash primarily, as the behavioral incentive to get people to show up to trial.

      1. And so even that is a shift towards a lower trust form of bail. An ankle monitor is much more extreme than cash bail on own recognizance. Particularly with the extremely regulated system we have currently, things like that open up the space for more accidental breaking of requirements. Cash bail did have the advantage of being simple. We shall see. I have hopes for this, though ultimately decreasing the number of bad laws is the ultimate road forward.

      2. Bullshit. As soon as ankle monitoring became prevalent you'd immediately switch to attacking the lack of privacy and surveillance that the monitoring would require. You leftists are nothing if not predictably dishonest.

        1. Maybe we shouldn't be putting ankle monitors on them because they are innocent until convicted.

          1. The claim of the perpetually childish.
            "Innocent until proven guilty" is a concept of the prosecution in a court of law.
            If one idiotically applied it in every instance, no one could ever be arrested.

          2. Or we could require the entire population to wear ankle bracelets at all times to be “fair”

    5. If this is about a bail that folks pay and never get to recoup, then I misunderstand and would agree that fines like that are troublesome.

      If you pay bail yourself, then the court pays it all back when you show up. If you do not have the money to pay bail and you have to go through a bail bondsman, then you have to pay 10% of that bail up front to the bail bondsman as a premium. That is not returned and is the profit the bail bondsman makes. They pay the bail and the court pays them back. If you can't afford 10% of the bail, then you stay in jail - and that's where the extra pressure on a plea bargain deal comes in.

      The whole issue of both fines and bail in this country has much the same problem. Sentencing and imprisonment outcomes depend on how well the charged is able to avoid the private-sector lending industry based on the courts.

      1. Kamala Harris and Joe Biden's staffers raised lots of bail money for BLM and Antifa rioters and thieves last year.

        Meanwhile, hundreds of Jan 6 peaceful protesters remain locked up without any charges filed or bail allowed (solely because they supported Trump), while at least a dozen left wing FBI/DOJ agents who planned and led the Capitol break in haven't been charged, nor has the Capitol Police officer who murdered Ashli Babbitt.

      2. I understand that, but I view this possibly as a reform of degree rather than kind. If there is a negative symbiotic relationship with cash bail and the bail bond industry, what can be done to improve that? I'm afraid that removing cash bail all together is throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
        It reminds me of all the anger towards private prisons, which increasingly seemed to be a way to focus people away from the general problem of crime and imprisonment.

        1. Bail comes from the English legal system - where the basic expectation is that you go to court for the adversarial trial. They reformed it a few times so bail now rarely involves cash bail. Ankle bracelets, curfews, check-ins, etc for those offences where release until trial is deemed ok.

          The continental law systems tend to want to avoid a trial - esp for the smaller stuff. So they tend to negotiate the penalties early - both short jail sentence and fines - in terms of days. The jail term is this many days, the fine is that many days income. The day-fines in particular really serve to have poorer folks admit their guilt and pay a fine rather than contest it all where the penalty is beyond their ability to pay.

      3. Doesn’t that incentivize police, judges and bondsmen to place charges on innocent people?

  4. Whenever a Rapper dies in a hail of bullets, a 60's rock and roll star gets their wings.

    1. Tupac is still alive.

      1. so is Jim Morrison. yang.

    2. Like the Chicago Rapper Londre Sylvester who was shot 64 times as he left the Cook County Jail.

  5. "Around half a million Americans are stuck at any given time in pretrial detention"

    That's half a million cost-effective laborers that billionaire employers like's benefactor Charles Koch cannot hire. Unacceptable!


    1. Not necessarily. I was in Jail once and I'm a VERY cost-ineffective laborer.

    2. They could be part of a new Narcan clinical trial.

    3. Sure. Let violent murderers, rapists, thugs, thieves and other dangerous psychopaths loose on the public.
      Anybody who wants the prisons emptied is either ignorant or just plain insane.

    4. OpenBordersLiberal-tarian loved that video. He's obsessed with Koch.

    1. And yet, somehow, by some miracle, he survived.

      1. Funny how that works.

        Didn't seem as worked up in 2018 when a violent mob rioted to try and stop Kavanaugh.

        1. Did they smash and climb through windows, spray officers, etc?

          1. Are we talking about the officers who were trapped in a building that was set on fire by mostly peaceful protesters, or a different group?

          2. They stormed and took over the Senate atrium.

          3. Can you work on better strawmen, fuckface?

    2. Not sure I want someone who cries like that "serving and protecting" me.

      1. Not in an organization that is more or less entirely unaccountable. If qualified immunity, bail are major issues, then the nationalization of the Capitol Police might be be at the top of the list.

      2. Ha hahaha you think serve and protect applies to you?

    3. They threatened him with a pig they were teaching to fly!

  6. Imagine watching The Fifth Element and thinking, "I really need to know Ruby Rhod's opinions on bail reform."

    1. Imagine watching the Fifth Element and not wanting know Ruby Rhod's opinion on every damn topic. I'd listen to that show, damn it.

      1. Back and forth between his and the Jar Jar Binks channel, eh?

      2. Lil Nas X is no Ruby Rhod

        1. amen

  7. Oh, in news literally no one gives a shit about.

    OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Former U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer was assaulted and robbed Monday in Oakland, California, her son said.

    The assault happened in the Jack London Square neighborhood, according to a tweet on Boxer’s verified Twitter account.

    “The assailant pushed her in the back, stole her cellphone and jumped in a waiting car,” the tweet said. “She is thankful that she was not seriously injured.”

    1. I have to admit, if you asked me "Is Barbara Boxer still a Senator." I would have said yes.

      1. wait wait. Barbara Boxer is a *former* Senator?

        1. OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Former U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer

          1. to be fair, AP ...

        2. Apparently she left the Senate in 2017. Just shows how much I don't know.

          1. The Trump election must have been too much for her.

            1. Pretty sure no one missed her.

              1. Her retirement gave us Sen Harris, so there is that.

                1. That's future Madame President Vagina McBlackerson to you.

          2. FFS, how do you think VP Cameltoe Harris got elected into the Senate.
            Babs gave up her seat.

    2. Were the assailants wearing MAGA hats?

    3. Wonder what's on her phone...

      1. Transcripts of her leading the insurrection inside the US Senate during the Clarence Thomas hearings.

        (She was later elected to the Senate)

  8. Oh, I almost forgot, Lil Nas WHO?

    1. No, X. Lil Nas WHO is the Chinese bootleg version.

    2. X is ten. Lil Nas Ten.

    3. It always struck me as funny that his claim to fame was reminding everyone that Billy Ray Cyrus was still alive.

  9. sheffield shemales is the best platform for casual chat contacts with fine girls in UK

  10. Glad to see him doing something worthwhile with his fame instead of just being controversial for its own sake.

  11. I think the real reform needed is swifter trials. Some people literally wait years to go to trial.

  12. How many of those incarcerated because they can’t make bail are men? If more than half, in the interest of gender equity, some women will need to be locked up.

    1. Yes!

      Something around 90% of prisoners are men, demonstrating that the system is creating a deliberate “disparate impact” on the minority of the population (~48%) who are men.

  13. Lil Nas X like most bail reformists is misinformed. While there are about 500,000 pretrial defendants in jail on a daily basis, the truly bondable is a fraction of the 500,000. Some facts from around the country, some logic and simple math prove Mr. X is misinformed.
    California's "minor, non-violent" defendants are not held unless there are outstanding warrants, holds, or violations. A non-scientific jail study of the LA County jail showed less than 1% of the pretrial population was misdemeanor charges -
    Florida, the third most populous state provides a monthly account of the jail population. Historically, about 5% of the jail population is misdemeanor defendants. Bail reformist prosecutor, Kim Ogg, of Houston Texas recently stated Harris County jail is at near capacity and that the population is made up of predominantly violent offenders.
    Without even considering facts that prove most pretrial defendants are in jail for violent offenses or because of warrants or violations, simple logic and math proves most defendants are processed and released quickly. Here's why: There are approximately 10 million arrests each year in the US. Yes, 10 million (with over 20 million victims each year)! That's about 200,000 arrests each week. Several studies and organizations have stated 35% to 50% of those in jail have no bond for warrants and violations and a substantial number are violent felony charges with great probable cause with either an extremely high bond amount or no bond amount. Therefore, if half of the 200,000 arrested each week cannot or should not get out, it means the other half are promptly released or jail populations would increase exponentially. Though New Jersey passed bail reform, there are counties that hold 50% of those arrested without any ability to be released.
    Bail reformists are either lying or misinformed.

    1. So Lil Nas X is more libertarian than you. Fair enough.

    2. How much of that data is due to adding on unsupportable felony charges to overcharge the suspect so they will accept a misdemeanor plea bargain?

  14. If you wish to see how bail reform works go to this website and see for yourself:
    The number of violent criminals released on bail, only to commit even worse crimes is out of control and nowhere is it more compelling than in Chicago.
    Multiple felony offenders should not be released on bail but kept behind bars until trial. They are dangerous threats to society and should never be released back into the public realm.

    1. Also worth noting that Chicago's murder clearance rate is routinely around 30%. You aren't going to increase that number without directly jailing more people and incidentally jailing some who shouldn't be there. At least with the bail bond system it's nominally not costing the state money to house them.

  15. That's what the video was about?

  16. If only there wasn't the confusion matrix...let's see what is really happening with who is actually receiving affordable bail:

    It's almost like they haven an incentive to shove the money out to the lowest of low lifes.

  17. If the premier libertarian website of America has been totally overrun by people who can barely contain their burning desire to lock as many innocent people in cages as they can get their hands on, perhaps someone could direct me to where the actual libertarians are hanging out.

    What a depressing thought that they're all on the staff of this magazine, talking to nobody.

    1. Could you be more of an idiot?

      1. I can be more libertarian than many people who actually call themselves that. Does that count?

  18. This song and video is complete trash. If you think it’s great you are trash. This guy came out as a country singer, gained a lot of young fans, then switched it up and is pushing straight up gay pornography on children. If you think that’s awesome you are disgusting.

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