by Kate Brumback
ATLANTA ( Associated Press) — Rapper Young Thug co-founded a violent street gang and promoted it in his songs and on social media, with prosecutors in a massive indictment alleging that he and 27 others were charged with racketeering and other crimes. A laundry list of gang interests.
The Atlanta-based rapper, whose given name is Jeffrey Lamar Williams, co-wrote the hit “This Is America” with Childish Gambino when it became the first hip-hop track to win a Grammy song of the year in 2019. Fulton County prosecutors say that in late 2012, he and two others founded Young Slim Life, a violent criminal street gang commonly known as YSL and affiliated with the National Blood Gang. Is.
He was arrested Monday from his home in Buckhead, an upscale neighborhood north of downtown Atlanta. He was incarcerated in the Fulton County Jail on charges of conspiracy to violate Georgia’s RICO Act and participating in a criminal street gang.
Young Thug’s lawyer, Brian Steele, told local news outlets that “Mr. Williams committed no crime” and that he would “fight to the last drop of his blood to clean him.”
He was to appear in court for the first time on Tuesday.
Also indicted were Atlanta rapper Gunna, whose real name is Sergio Kitchen, and aspiring rapper Christian Eppinger, who was already in prison and is accused of shooting an Atlanta police officer six times in February. It was not immediately known whether Gunna, who is accused of conspiracy to violate the state’s RIICO Act, had been arrested.
Gunna, who is signed to the Thugs Young Stoner Life record label, achieved her second #1 on the Billboard 200 album chart this year with “DS4Ever”. Grammy-nominated artist best known for promoting the viral catchphrase “Pushin P”, a term regularly used on social media by popular athletes such as LeBron James and Deez Bryant, as well as the Arizona Cardinals, Denver With professional sports teams like Nuggets and Toronto Raptors. The rapper said the term is based on “keep it real”.
In April 2021, Young Thug and Gunna posted bail for 30 low-level prisoners who were unable to bear the costs themselves. Gunna opened a no-cost grocery and apparel store in her former middle school in Atlanta for students and their families. The store offers goods including footwear, clothing, food and toiletries.
In addition to the specific charges, the indictment includes an exhaustive list of 181 acts that prosecutors say were committed as part of a conspiracy to advance the interests of the gang. These include appearing in videos containing provocative song lyrics, appearing in photographs on social media with gang symbols, possessing drugs with intent to distribute, beatings and murders.
The indictment accuses gang members of trying to kill rival gang member and rapper YFN Lucy, whose given name is Rayson Bennett, by “stabbing and stabbing” her with a leg in the Fulton County Jail. YFN Lucci was one of a dozen people charged a year earlier in another Ricoh indictment related to gangs in Fulton County.
Prosecutors say YSL is primarily active in the Southeast Atlanta and Cleveland Avenue areas, but is expanding its activity to the surrounding metro area. Its members are identified by their green or red bandanas—red for blood and green for mud—and clothing bearing the words “YSL” or “mud”, the indictment says.
With his sharp high-pitched rap vocals, Young Thug is best known for his hits including “Stoner” and “Best Friend”. In an ultra-masculine hip-hop scene, Thug refuses to play by traditional gender rules. She wore a dress on the cover of her 2016 mixtape “Jeffrey” and said that there is no such thing as a gender as part of a Calvin Klein campaign.
Young Thug’s record label refers to its artists as part of the “Slim Family” and a compilation album titled “Slim Language 2” hit #1 on the charts in April 2021.
Associated Press writer Jonathan Landrum Jr. in Los Angeles contributed to this report.