Subscribe to our complimentary daily US news email delivered directly to your inbox every weekday morning.
Enroll in our complimentary daily US newsletter delivered in the morning via email.
The court case for Atlanta rapper Young Thug is scheduled to commence in Georgia, almost 11 months after the initial process of selecting a jury.
The artist who is currently at the top of the charts, along with multiple others, is facing allegations of violent offenses and participating in organized crime as a member of a group known as YSL.
The process of choosing jurors for the trial started in January, but encountered multiple difficulties – such as having the defendants transported from separate jails to court every day, and managing illegal items in the courtroom. Surprisingly, a defense lawyer and a court deputy were also arrested during this time.
The ongoing legal case has caused significant postponements in the trial, which is projected to take several months to commence.
The start of the opening statements is set for Monday, November 27th.
This is important information to be aware of.
Who is the artist known as Young Thug?
Young Thug, also known as Slime, is a rapper born in Atlanta in 1991 with the birth name Jeffrey Lamar Williams.
At the young age of 19, he began his professional journey and joined Gucci Mane’s music label. He eventually rose to prominence as a highly influential figure in the world of modern hip-hop and trap music.
His first two albums “So Much Fun”, in 2019, and “Punk”, in 2021, debuted at the top of the Billboard 200, as did his 2021 joint compilation album with Gunna, “Slime Language 2”.
Young Thug has been involved in numerous collaborations that have resulted in multiple chart-topping singles.
Reworded: Some notable features on hit songs such as Camila Cabello’s Havana in 2018, Travis Scott and MIA’s Franchise in 2020, and Drake and Future’s Way 2 Sexy in 2021 have all reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
In addition, he collaborated with Childish Gambino, whose real name is Donald Glover, to write the popular song “This Is America.” This song made history by being the first hip-hop track to ever win Song of the Year at the 2019 Grammy Awards.
Young Thug is recognized for his unique fashion sense, as a 2016 GQ piece labeled him as a “pioneer of the rap hippie’s psychedelic fashion movement”.
According to the article, he is difficult to approach and exudes unpredictability. It is hard to fathom him intentionally making eye contact with another person.
What is YSL?
The answer varies depending on the source.
Young Thug’s personal music label is known as YSL, short for Young Slime Life. Musicians signed under this label are part of the “Slime Family,” and their collective album, “Slime Language 2,” reached the top spot on the US charts in April 2021.
YSL has a roster of talented artists such as Gunna and Lil Keed. However, many other popular artists like Future, Lil Uzi Vert, Playboi Carti, Lil Baby, and Travis Scott have shown support for YSL without being officially signed.
As per the prosecution, YSL is classified as a “gang”, known for its origins in the Cleveland Avenue neighborhood of Atlanta and its ties to the larger Bloods gang.
The 88-page indictment states that YSL members utilize various indicators such as colors, attire, tattoos, and hand gestures to display their loyalty to the organization.
The most commonly used colors among YSL members are red for Bloods and green for Slime.
Defense lawyers, on the other hand, argue that YSL is simply a record label.
What is being accused of the YSL members?
The individuals from YSL mentioned in the accusation are accused of conspiring to break the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act in Georgia.
The action is comparable to its national equivalent, which is employed to find guilty large-scale groups like the mafia.
As stated in the accusation, members of YSL allegedly worked together with others to illegally obtain money and property through a series of criminal acts.
According to the statement, individuals who are part of the YSL group were allegedly responsible for acts of homicide, attempted homicide, theft with a weapon, violent assault, drug trafficking, hijacking of vehicles, and intimidating witnesses.
Additional actions involve “sharing of texts, pictures, videos, and music that show support for the organization and a readiness to use force on its behalf”.
The prosecutors allege that certain lyrics from the group are connected to the crimes they are being charged with.
According to prosecutors, the gang engaged in various activities with the goal of safeguarding, defending, and improving the standing, influence, and land of the organization.
Where does Young Thug fit?
The accusation depicts Young Thug as the head of the illicit group, which was accountable for numerous acts of violence, such as homicides, shootings, and carjackings.
According to prosecutors, the rapper utilized his music and social media presence to endorse the gang.
It is also claimed that he has engaged in numerous illegal activities for which he has not faced charges.
Although he is not facing charges for these “overt acts”, they support the claim that the defendants were involved in a criminal conspiracy as a group.
Brian Steel, the attorney for Young Thug, stated to The New York Times: “Mr. Williams has had a tremendously difficult upbringing, yet has managed to conduct himself in a remarkable manner. He has not committed any crimes.”
For how many years has Young Thug been in prison?
Young Thug has been incarcerated since being detained in May of 2022.
In the beginning of this month, a group of individuals was chosen after nearly 12 months – with more than 2,000 individuals being called upon to potentially serve.
The start of the trial will commence on November 27th.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the trial may become the longest in Georgia’s history.
Is there controversy surrounding the case?
The utilization of rap lyrics from artists affiliated with YSL and Young Thug has been a continuous source of disagreement in the case.
At the beginning of this month, Judge Ural Glanville of Fulton County Superior Court made a decision to permit prosecutors to present 17 sets of lyrics as evidence, as long as they can prove that the lyrics are connected to the alleged criminal acts of the rapper and other defendants.
The defense lawyers requested that the judge not include them, stating that the lyrics are protected by the constitution and would result in unfair bias.
The prosecutor, Mike Carlson, stated during a pre-trial hearing that the subject at hand is not about rap lyrics, but rather gang lyrics. He referred to them as party admissions, even though they are written as lyrics.
According to Mr. Carlson, the defendants cannot use First Amendment speech protections as a defense because they are not being charged for their lyrics. He believes that the lyrics pertain to the illegal action or intention that led to the charges.
Simone Hylton, a fellow prosecutor, divided the lyrics into three distinct groups: those that serve as evidence of YSL’s status as a business entity, those that demonstrate the gang’s conduct and actions, and those that establish Young Thug as a leader of the gang.
What has been the response of the music industry to the trial?
Numerous prominent figures in the music world have shown their backing for YSL and criticized attempts by prosecutors to use their lyrics against them.
Drake, a popular Canadian artist, made a mention of the case in his song “Sticky” from his latest album Honestly, Nevermind.
Drake mentions in the song that someone is receiving compensation and releasing Free Big Slime from captivity.
Rapper Killer Mike, a member of the group Run The Jewels, previously stated to ABC News that hip hop is not given the same level of respect as other art forms due to the lack of recognition and acknowledgement of Black individuals as fully human in this country.
If the courts are given the power to charge these individuals based on their fictional personas and fabricated rhymes, they may soon come knocking at your doorstep.