'If I pop, it won’t miss': How rapper Young Thug's eerie rap lyrics could go against him in RICO case

'If I pop, it won’t miss': How rapper Young Thug's eerie rap lyrics could go against him in RICO case
Young Thug, whose real name is Jeffery Lamar Williams, was taken into custody on May 9, 2022 (Paras Griffin/Getty Images for BET)

ATLANTA, GEORGIA: Rap lyrics by Young Thug will be presented as proof in his impending RICO case. The rapper, whose real name is Jeffery Lamar Williams, was taken into custody on May 9, 2022, in Georgia on suspicion of breaking the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations [RICO] Act.

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Williams' RICO indictment has been enhanced by a number of other counts that were brought against him after a search of his home. The contentious lawsuit has roiled the music business and reignited debate over the use of rap lyrics as evidence in court. The rap lyrics could go against him in court in the RICO case.

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'Overt acts in furtherance of the conspiracy'

Young Thug and other members of Young Slime Life [YSL], the rapper's record label, were accused by the prosecution of engaging in "overt acts in furtherance of the conspiracy" to break the RICO Act through social media posts and song lyrics, reported The Sun.  Williams and two other co-defendants allegedly co-founded the Atlanta-based gang known as YSL in 2012. "Jeffery Williams, an Atlanta-based hip-hop artist, made YSL a well-known name by referring to it in his songs and on social media," says the indictment.

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According to the prosecution, the acronym also has a more sinister meaning. Young Slime Life is a violent street gang that was created in 2012 by Young Thug and two other individuals and is connected to the nationwide Bloods gang. The alleged gang members included in the indictment are accused of engaging in violent crimes, such as murders, shootings, and carjackings, in order to rake in money for the gang, enhance its reputation, and increase its influence and territory, reported USA Today. 

'I got something to do with that body'

As per reports, the indictment included references to "YSL," including songs mentioning the purported gang, from music videos published on social media between 2016 and 2021. The popular song 'Anybody' by Young Thug and additional songs like 'Take it to Trial', 'Ski', and 'Slatty' from the YSL 2020 compilation album, 'Slime Language 2', are some examples of references. Lyrics from 'Anybody' has lines like, "I never killed anybody, But I got something to do with that body." The song 'Slatty', which also features Gunna from YSL, has lyrics about killing a man and "not leaving a trace." "I paid the high for that Glock with the switch, Guaranteed me, If I pop, it won’t miss."

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'Protect Black Art'

Prosecutors claim that the lyrics were "overt acts" that helped achieve the goals of the accused RICO conspiracy, which included "preserving, protecting, and enhancing the reputation, power, and territory of the enterprise [YSL]." The use of song lyrics as evidence has spurred the "Protect Black Art" campaign and triggered discussions about the right to free speech.

'Lyrics brought into evidence'

Brian Steel, the attorney for Williams, filed a motion to stop the prosecution from using the rapper's songs against him, claiming that the tactic is "racist and discriminatory." "[Lyrics] cannot be used as evidence of crime if they are simply connected to music/freedom of expression/freedom of speech/poetry," stated the motion as per The Sun. In a different filing, the prosecution justified utilizing the lyrics and requested a hearing; however, nothing of the sort ever transpired. The lyrics were brought into evidence and Judge Ural Glanville read aloud to potential jurors.

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