Lyrics from Young Thug are used as evidence in the indictment against the gang

Lyrics from Young Thug are used as evidence in the indictment against the gang

According to the 88-page indictment, seen by CNN, lyrics from the rapper’s popular songs — including “Slime Sh*t,” “Original Slime Sh*t,” and “Anybody” — were used as examples of “obvious acts,” Some of them constitute extortion. Prosecutors allege that Young Thug, real name Jeffery Williams, formed the Young Slime Life gang in late 2012 and was a key figure in various YSL activities. Rapper Gunna, whose real name is Sergio Giovanni Kitchens, is also accused in the document. Williams was arrested Monday at his Atlanta home, police said.

Most notably, prosecutors said Williams rented an Infiniti Q50 sedan from Hertz in 2015, which was later used in the killing of a rival gang member. There are also references that put Williams as the leader of the YSL gang as two associates debated how to get his permission to murder rapper YFN Lucci while he was incarcerated.

“I’m ready to bring her down,” “assassination gang shit,” and “I’ve never killed anyone, but I have something to do with this corpse” are just a few of the dozens of lines referenced in the indictment.

The indictment also cites lyrics from other well-known rappers pointing to ties to Young Slime Life, along with social media posts.

Williams was sent to the Fulton County Jail and charged with conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) and participation in criminal street gang activity.

This isn’t the first time lyrics have been used by law enforcement. In 2019, prosecutors questioned Brooklyn rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine about the lyrics to his song “GUMMO,” asking whether it contained threats against rivals. In 2017, prosecutors tried to use Drakeo the Ruler’s “Flex Freestyle” as evidence that he conspired to murder another rapper.
Not everyone supports allowing prosecutors to use text as evidence. In “Rap on Trial: Race, Lyrics and Guilt in America,” by Erik Nielson and Andrea L. Dennis, rapper Killer Mike argues that rap, as an art form, is a safe space in which raw emotion can and should be expressed.

“Left unchecked, it has the potential to silence a generation of artists exercising their First Amendment right to express themselves,” he wrote. “These are voices we should encourage, but our criminal justice system has consistently sought ways to punish them.”

Killer Mike also noted that artists from genres other than rap are often hailed for their dark lyrics, while rappers are vilified.

Last year in New York state senators introduced the Rap Music on Trial bill that would prevent art – including song lyrics – from being used as evidence in criminal trials. Jay-Z, Meek Mill, Big Sean and Kelly Rowland supported the bill, as did other musicians.

But Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis sees it differently.

“I believe in the First Amendment; it is one of our most precious rights. However, the First Amendment does not protect people from prosecutors using (texts) as evidence when they are,” Willis said during a Tuesday news briefing. “In this case, we’re putting it as overt and predicate acts within the RICO count because we believe that’s exactly what it is.”

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