The trial of Jeffery Lamar Williams, known in the hip-hop industry as Young Thug, has begun in Georgia, where a judge will allow prosecutors to use Williams’ lyrics as evidence against the star.
Williams, 31, and fellow Young Slime Life (YSL) member Gunna, whose real name is Sergio Kitchens, were accused of organizing and participating in a violent street gang.
The case grabbed national headlines because of Williams and Kitchens’s fame.
Williams, a Grammy winner, has multiple top charting hits.
But scrutiny on the case rose more when prosecutors requested and were granted permission to use the rapper’s lyrics to demonstrate that they’re part of an organized criminal outfit.
In court, the lyrics were read aloud by Judge Ural Glanville.
“Hey, this that slime [stuff], hey/YSL [stuff], hey/Killin’ 12 [stuff], hey/F**k a jail [stuff], hey,” Judge Glanville repeated.
“Cookin’ white brick, hey, hey/I’m not new to this, hey, I’m so true to this, hey I done put a whole slime on a hunnid licks, hey, hey.”
“Slime or get slimed/In the VIP, and I got that pistol on my hip/You prayin’ that you live/I’m prayin’ that I hit/Hey, this that slime [stuff]…F**k, f**k the police, in a high speed. Got banana clips for all these ni**as actin’ monkey.”
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis said the lyrics are proof of the rappers’ crimes.
“I think if you decide to admit your crimes over a beat, I’m gonna use it,” Willis declared.
Some members of Congress have also put forward bills that would make it illegal for prosecutors to use an artist’s lyrics against them in court.
Authorities arrested Williams in May and charged him with conspiracy to violate Georgia’s RICO Act and participating in a criminal gang.
Under the RICO – Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations – authorities can accuse multiple individuals from someone’s inner circle of gang-related activity if one person is connected to criminal acts.
Several members, including Kitchens, have accepted plea deals to avoid prison.
Artists like Lil Wayne and Rich Homie Quan are on the witness lists and may be called to testify during Williams’ trial.
“Mr. Williams has committed no crime whatsoever,” said Williams’ attorney Brian Steel. “We will fight this case ethically, legally and zealously. Mr. Williams will be cleared.”