Recent arrests of YSL artists Young Thug, Gunna, and others, left a sour taste in much of the industry’s mouths. It especially didn’t sit right with Meek Mill. His story is quite the journey as his own legal troubles have led him to fight for justice reform.
He wrote, “Free thug … free gunna … free ysl … everybody deserves a bail!”
R.I.C.O, 56 counts. Lyrical evidence.
Fulton County (Georgia) judge Ural Glanville denied Young Thug’s bond last week saying he’s concerned about Young Thug being a danger to the community. The prosecution argued that Thug, whose real name is Jeffrey Lamar Williams, is the head of Young Slime Life (YSL).
Prosecutors called Williams “the top dog, the most dangerous man here, because he doesn’t have to get his hands dirty, he has others to do his business,” Atlanta station WXIA-TV reported. They also say that the ‘gang’ committed multiple murders, shootings, and other criminal activity in about a decade’s time. Their music and social media posts were used as evidence.
Right? Or, wrong?
Conversations have been focused on whether lyrics (and other art) should be used in the court of law. It does make you wonder. For some of these artists, their lyrics are simply part of the act. For others, their lyrics are their true stories.
How does the court determine the truth?
Rapper Cordae shared, “free the Whole YSL Family! They showed me more genuine love than damn near anybody!” He tweeted. “Protect Black Art! Also Using Lyrics against someone on trial is nuts! It’s a form of self expression that shouldn’t be used in a literal sense especially in a court of law!!!”
Prosecution cited lines like “YSL, wipe a n**** nose” from Eww and “I get all type of cash, I’m a general” from Anybody, to “I never killed anybody but I got something to do with that body” (also from Anybody) and “gave the lawyer close to two mil, he handles all the killings” from Just How It Is. In the 88-page indictment against the group, prosecutors call the lyrics, “overt act[s] in furtherance of the conspiracy.” They haven’t tied to them to any specific crimes but are using the lyrics to paint the picture of their criminal lifestyle.
The waiting game.
Young Thug’s attorneys called several witnessed to speak on his character. They painted a picture opposite of his lyrics, based on his active community involvement. Music executive Kevin Lyles spoke in Thug’s defense.
He said, “[Young Thug] is not just an artist — he’s an influencer, a person I think was put here to change the people around him” and a “contributing citizen to this world.” He went on to say “like a son” and he was willing to put up his own wealth and business behind a bond.
Trial is expected to take place on January 9th, 2023.