Young Thug has been regarded as one of the driving forces in establishing mumble rap as a subgenre of hip hop in recent years. He’s received tons of recognition for his hits like “Digits” and “Go Crazy.” He’s also collaborated with huge artists like Drake, Childish Gambino, and Camila Cabello on award-winning tracks.
Over the years, Young Thug, whose real name is Jeffrey Williams, has faced his fair share of legal issues. Most recently, Young Thug has been in a legal battle about gang-related activity and racketeering in his hometown of Atlanta, Georgia. He has pleaded “not guilty” to the charges, as his trial began on November 27. However, the trial was delayed after co-dependent Shannon Bernard Jackson was stabbed in the Fulton County Jail in early December. A new court date has not been announced yet. Shannon is one of the six defendants on the case. Here we have all the details about the trial you need to know.
What Was Young Thug Charged With?
Young Thug was originally charged twice in a wider 56-count indictment in May 2022, unveiled by District Attorney Fani Willis. The prosecutors have claimed that the rapper’s label YSL, which stands for Young Stoner Life, is associated with the gang, the Bloods, and that the rapper is acting as the subset’s leader. Prosecutors have said that YSL actually stands for “Young Slime Life” and the rapper is often called “King Slime.”
The two charges filed against Young Thug were for violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) Act and participating in street gang-related activity, per The New York Times. The rapper was given six additional charges for gun and drug possession, after his home was searched in August 2022. As mentioned above, he has pleaded “not guilty” to the charges.
How Much Prison Time Can He Face?
The racketeering and gang charges carry a sentence ranging from five to 20 years, but the additional charges could have the rapper facing up to 120 years in prison, if found guilty, according to The Times.
Judge Allows Prosecutors to Submit Song Lyrics
One of the most controversial aspects of the trial is the use of song lyrics as evidence being presented against the rapper. In November 2023, Judge Ural Glanville allowed 17 lyrics to be submitted as preliminary evidence, per ABC News. Young Thug’s lawyers had filed a motion against the lyrics being used, but it was denied. “I’m conditionally admitting those pending lyrics, depending upon – or subject to a foundation that is properly laid by the state or the proponent that seeks to admit that evidence,” he said.
The tracks that have been submitted as evidence include collaborations with major artists like Nicki Minaj and the late rapper Juice WRLD, via Vulture. Some of the other tracks were from artists on the rapper’s YSL label, including the likes of Gunna and Slimelife Shawty. Many of the lyrics submitted include references to violence.
Many people have spoken out against the use of song lyrics as evidence. “[Prosecutors] are targeting the right to free speech,” Young Thug’s attorney said during arguments. Other rappers have spoken out against the decision like Killer Mike of Run The Jewels. “This decision scares me,” he wrote in an Instagram Story, per Hip Hop DX. “This threatens all Americans’ 1st Amendment rights in my opinion. Please read #RapOnTrial.”