By Associated Press
ATLANTA: Atlanta rapper Young Thug co-founded a violent avenue gang that dedicated a number of murders, shootings and carjackings over roughly a decade and promoted its actions in songs and on social media, prosecutors allege in a sprawling indictment that costs him, rapper Gunna and 26 others with racketeering.
The 88-page indictment filed Monday in Georgia’s Fulton County quotes lyrics from a number of music movies as proof and accuses alleged gang members of committing violent crimes to gather cash for the gang, promote its popularity and improve its energy and territory.
“It doesn’t matter what your notoriety is, what your fame is, for those who come to Fulton County, Georgia, and also you commit crimes, … you will turn out to be a goal and a spotlight of this district legal professional’s workplace, and we’re going to prosecute you to the fullest extent of the legislation,” Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis mentioned Tuesday at a information convention asserting the fees.
Young Thug, whose given identify is Jeffery Lamar Williams, co-wrote the hit “This is America” with Childish Gambino, making historical past when it grew to become the primary hip-hop observe to win the tune of the yr Grammy in 2019. Fulton County prosecutors say that in late 2012, he and two others based Young Slime Life, a violent felony avenue gang that is generally referred to as YSL and is affiliated with the nationwide Bloods gang.
He was arrested Monday at his residence in Buckhead, an upscale neighborhood north of downtown Atlanta. He was being held on the Fulton County Jail on costs of conspiracy to violate Georgia’s RICO Act and participation in a felony avenue gang.
Young Thug’s lawyer, Brian Steel, advised information shops that “Mr. Williams committed no crime whatsoever” and he would “fight till his last drop of blood to clear him.”
Also charged within the indictment had been rapper Gunna, whose actual identify is Sergio Kitchens, and aspiring rapper Christian Eppinger, who was already in jail and is accused of capturing an Atlanta police officer six occasions in February. Gunna, who’s accused of conspiracy to violate the state’s RICO Act, was not in custody as of Tuesday afternoon, Fulton County Sheriff Pat Labat mentioned.
In addition to particular costs, the indictment features a wide-ranging listing of 181 acts that prosecutors say had been dedicated beginning in 2013 as a part of the alleged RICO conspiracy to additional the gang’s pursuits.
In 2015, Williams rented an Infiniti sedan that 5 alleged gang members used after they shot and killed a rival gang member, the indictment says.
Williams and Kitchens in 2017 had methamphetamine, hydrocodone and marijuana that they meant to distribute and had been concerned in a visitors cease the next yr through which one of many automobiles had quite a few weapons with excessive capability magazines, together with an AK—47, in keeping with the indictment.
It quotes lyrics from a number of music video appearances by Williams, together with one from 2018 through which he says, “I never killed anybody but I got something to do with that body,” and, “I told them to shoot hundred rounds.”
Willis mentioned she respects the First Amendment proper to free speech, however she believes the tune lyrics cited within the indictment are “overt and predicate acts” that assist the RICO cost. “The First Amendment does not protect people from prosecutors using it as evidence if it is so,” she mentioned.
The indictment additionally accuses members of the gang of making an attempt to kill rapper YFN Lucci, whose given identify is Rayshawn Bennett, by “stabbing and stabbing at” him with a shank within the Fulton County Jail. YFN Lucci was amongst a dozen individuals charged in one other gang-related RICO indictment in Fulton County a yr in the past.
The indictment additionally says it was an alleged member of the gang who shot at a bus in 2015 that was carrying rapper Lil Wayne. Willis mentioned she plans to hunt the utmost attainable penalties for the individuals charged within the indictment. For no less than a few of them, that would imply life in jail.
With his squeaky high-pitched rap vocals, Young Thug grew to become greatest identified for his hits together with “Stoner” and “Best Friend.” In a hyper-masculine hip-hop scene, Thug refused to play by conventional gender guidelines. He wore a gown on the duvet of his 2016 mixtape “Jeffery” and mentioned there’s no such factor as gender as a part of a Calvin Klein marketing campaign.
Gunna, who’s signed to Thug’s Young Stoner Life report label, scored his second No. 1 on the Billboard 200 album chart with “DS4Ever” this yr. The Grammy-nominated artist is understood for reinforcing the viral catchphrase “Pushin P,” a time period used recurrently on social media by athletes equivalent to LeBron James and Dez Bryant, together with skilled sports activities groups such because the Arizona Cardinals, Denver Nuggets and Toronto Raptors. The rapper mentioned the time period relies on “keeping it real.”
In April 2021, Young Thug and Gunna posted bail for 30 low-level inmates who had been unable to afford the prices themselves. Gunna opened a no-cost grocery and attire retailer at his former center faculty to college students and their households within the space the place he grew up.
Young Thug’s report label refers to its artists as a part of the “Slime Family,” and a compilation album known as “Slime Language 2” hit No. 1 on the charts in April 2021.