YSL On Trial: Behind The Lyrics That Nabbed Young Thug

Written By Daniel "Jerk" Jerkins

Wish I Hadn't Said That

The 88-page RICO indictment against rapper Young Thug’s YSL crew will still include song lyrics. These lyrics will be used to prosecute him and dozens of alleged associates. 

Young Thug (YSL)
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The YSL trial against Young Thug, real name Jeffrey Williams, has officially commenced. Prosecutors will present rap lyrics as evidence to support their case. This follows after YSL members Gunna and Thugger’s brother Unfoonk, were released after taking plea deals.

Can And Will Be Used Against YSL

The prosecution cites lyrics by Grammy Award-winning rapper Young Thug as evidence in a sweeping 56-count gang indictment. This has rekindled the debate concerning lyrics being protected free speech. Thug and Gunna, born Sergio Kitchens, were swept up in a massive crackdown on 28 members of the YSL gang.  

The RICO indictments say the gang openly and brazenly displayed, professed, and promoted illegal activities via lyrics and music videos. These activities include the possession of contraband firearms, murder, intimidation, assault, and robbery.

On May 12th, prosecutors seized evidence to prove the rap lyrics were more than just entertainment. The lyrics in some songs provided investigators with detailed and specific facts that they linked to specific crimes.

According to the 88-page indictment, YSL gave prosecutors in these 9 songs all they needed to build a solid case.

Exhibits A – H

YSL Fans Call Foul

Many hip-hop fans are upset that song lyrics are being used in court to prosecute artists for their art. Fans feel that freedom of speech is supposed to protect artists from this form of prosecution, and Young Thug and Gunna are being unfairly prosecuted by the state of Georgia. On social media, many expressed their displeasure.

A Twitter user, identified as @DebatingHipHop_, was upset by the court’s treatment of Young Thug. The tweep wrote, “Young Thug wasn’t given a bond and will face a life sentence if convicted on all counts. They are treating him as the kingpin of YSL and are using lyrics against him. They are also building cases on other Atlanta rappers, including Lil Baby and Playboi Carti and more.”

Another user on Twitter identified as @cadenceweapon implied that there was a racial bias in using lyrics against the hip-hop artist and not other notable music artists he tweeted, “The YSL RICO case cherry-picks certain Young Thug lyrics as evidence of a criminal conspiracy. But these famous words never attracted legal scrutiny:

Johnny Cash: “I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die”

Why is artistic license viable for some artists but not for others?”

Additional reporting by Tatiana Pinheiro.

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Written by Daniel "Jerk" Jerkins

Journalist, Hip Hop Head, Florida Boy

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