The 88-page RICO indictment against rappers Young Thug and Gunna’s “YSL” gang contains song lyrics that are being used to prosecute them as well as dozens of alleged associates.
Here are nine times song lyrics were used in the indictment that swept up the popular rappers and 26 of their associates.
Grammy-winning rapper Young Thug‘s lyrics are being cited as evidence in a sweeping 56-count gang indictment, again starting a debate concerning lyrics being protected free speech. Thug, born Jeffery Williams, and Gunna, born Sergio Kitchens, were swept up in a massive crackdown of 28 members of Atlanta’s YSL gang.
The RICO indictments says the gang openly and brazenly displayed, professed, and promoted illegal activity – including the possession of contraband firearms, murder, intimidation, assault, and robbery – via their lyrics and music videos. The lyrics in each song provided investigators with detailed and specific facts that they linked to specific crimes. And when they swept the gang on May 12, prosecutors seized actual physical evidence to prove the rap lyrics were more than just entertainment.
According to the 88-page indictment, YSL gave prosecutors in these 9 songs all they needed to build a solid case.
(Additional reporting by Tatiana Pinheiro)
1. “Ski,” featuring Young Thug and Gunna.
“I fuck with slatts and we come to eat rats and came with some fuckin’ piranhas”
“I tote an FN on me, call Neechie-Neech, it’s Glock he keep”
“Duke Rollin’ 60’s, he locked in C’s,”
RICO SAYS: “The lyrics are an overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy” – that Jeffery “Young Thug” Williams and Sergio ‘Gunna” Kitchens boldly rap lyrics that implicate them in various illegal conspiracies including the possession of illegal firearms by known felons.
SOHH EXPLAINER: Gunna and Thugga appeared in the video. The term FN is a slang abbreviation for a firearm that he calls, Neechie-Neech. Duke is an acquaintance in the Rollin’ 60’s Gang. Thugga and Gunna both flash YSL gang signs throughout the video and Gunna states his blood gang affiliation with “slatts.” Prosecutors seek to use these lyrics and video as evidence of Thugga’s gang affiliation and conspiracy.
2. “Slime Shit,” featuring Young Thug
“Hey, this that slime shit, hey, YSL shit, hey, killin 12 shit, hey, fuck jail shit, hey, cooking white brick,”
“I’m not new to this, hey, I’m so true to this, hey, done put whole slime on hunnid licks,”
“slime or get slimed,”
“I’m in the VIP and got that pistol on my hip, you prayin that you live I’m prayin that hit, hey, this that slime shit,”
“Fuck, fuck the police (fuck’em), in high speed,” “hundred rounds in Tahoe,”
“I’m prepared to take em down,”
“got banana clips for all these niggas actin monkey,”
“this that slime shit, this that mob shit,”
“fuck the judge, YSL, this that mob life,”
RICO SAYS: Defendant Jeffery “Young Thug” Williams, an associate of YSL, appeared in a video released on social media. The lyrics are “an overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy.”
SOHH EXPLAINER: Young Thug, in this video is being accused of openly promoting his affiliation with the YSL bloods (“slime”) and promoting criminal activity (“licks”) including the possession and discharge of illegal firearms and narcotics trafficking.
3. “Slatty,” feat Young Thug
“I killed his man in front of his momma, like fiick lil bruh, sister and his cousin,”
“I shoot out,”
“kill em, not leaving trace,”
“I had to break in the safe, yeah, and didn’t leave em trace,”
“dissect your body like science class, nigga,”
“gangster cause you got body, lil nigga, magazine clips, so you might get your issue, you think you gangster cause you got pistol,”
“look at my trigger, my trigger start itching,” “YSL, we going overboard,”
RICO SAYS: “The lyrics are an overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy.
SOHH EXPLAINER: In these lyrics, Young Thug raps about murdering a man in front of his own mother, dissecting his body and how he broke into his safe and wiped it clean leaving no trace. The specific details of such an actual event, and the prosecutors’ presentation of the evidence, would prove the gang’s criminal conspiracy.
4. “Mob Ties,” feat. Slimelife Shawty, Unfoonk, Lil Miles
“and we ride round with guns probably big as us, and we be on some 2Pac shit, Hit Em Up,”
“nigga play with Unfoonk and get hogtied, Nigga play with Unfoonk, then they all die, Talking bout knocking off your big homie, even his small fry, why would I lie,”
“Old murder never switching up, you say you niggas gangsters, you ain’t did enough, spin the block couple times think they did enough, Hail Mary, 2Pac shit, I’m bout to Hit Em Up”
“every nigga around me wicked, like why would lie, Slime ball nigga like ya ya ya ,”
“why would lie, got mob ties,”
“tell them spin bend, they send shots flying,”
“knockin off yo big homie, bitch,”
RICO SAYS: The indictment names MILES “Lil Miles” FARLEY, DEAMONTE “Unfoonk” KENDRICK and WUNNIE “Slimelife Shawty” LEE. and states that the lyrics are “an overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy.” Additionally, QUANTAVIOUS “Unfoonk” GRIER is charged in POSSESSION OF FIREARM DURING COMMISSION OF FELONY.
SOHH EXPLAINER: Again, YSL boldly talk of possessing guns, “knocking off” opps in murderous plots and spinning bends to commit drive by shootings. Unfoonk is cited for allegedly stealing a stolen gun from a “Christopher Greer” on 10/1/15 when he was a convicted felon.
5. “Fox 5,” feat Gunna
Sergio “Gunna” Kitchens appears in the video wearing a “YSL” pendant and “Slatt” pendant, with lyrics stating “We got ten-hundred round choppers…”
RICO SAYS: The indictment states that Defendant SERGIO “Gunna” KITCHENS, an associate of YSL, appeared in a video released on social media and that the lyrics are “an overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy.”
SOHH EXPLAINER: In the video, Gunna brags about possessing “choppas” – automatic weapons which authorities purport are used to further the conspiracy of gang activities. Guns are boldy flashed throughout the video.
6. “Where You From,” feat. Slimelife Shawty
“Free Lil Rod,”
“Fuck your squad,”
“where you from, I’m from Bleveland, throw your setup,”
“but where I’m from nigga talk too much then get wet up,”
“the opps hate the crew we getting this paper and we ducking cases, slime, slime,”
“free Lil Shannon,”
“I’ma rock that crew thuggin,”
“Ain’t know about tick,”
“slimelife Young Thug nigga,”
RICO SAYS: The indictment states that Defendant WUNNIE “Slimelife Shawty” LEE and MILES FARLEY associates of YSL, appeared in the music video “in an overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy.” The song also mentions RODALIUS “Lil Rod” RYAN, an associate and member of YSL. He is a part of the indictment as well and is charged with ATTEMPTED MURDER. Lil Shannon is an associate and member of YSL, who’s real name is SHANNON STILLWELL and also is sometimes referred to as SHANNON JACKSON. SHANNON is charged in indictment with POSSESSION OF FIREARM DURING COMMISSION OF FELONY.
SOHH EXPLAINER: By openly promoting illegal activity in their lyrics as well as throwing up gang signs showing their YSL affiliation, investigators cite this as evidence of furthering the gang enterprise. And even though Lee is doing most of the talking, investigators seek to prove everyone else is essentially guilty by association.
7. Really Be Slime,” feat. Young Thug
“My nigga, really, they slime, and we committing them crimes,”
“hop out and shoot,”
“roll one up for the gang,”
“you wanna be slime? Go catch you body,”
“me and lil bro, we used to steal from the store, we had to stick it and go,”
RICO SAYS: The indictment states that Defendant JEFFERY “Young Thug” WILLIAMS, an associate of YSL, appeared in this song released on social media and that “the lyrics are an overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy.”
SOHH EXPLAINER: In the song, Thugga calls out who is “Slime” or blood gang affiliated. He attests to committing criminal activities including ambush gunfights against their opps. The lyrics discuss YSL’s gang initiation blood sacrifice – ”catch a body” or murder someone to prove your allegiance.
8. “Take It To Trial”
“Take this shit to motherfucking trial,”
“for slimes you know kill, trial, done beat it twice, state,”
“I’m undefeated like feds came and snatched me…”
“don’t know, no point in asking,”
“was on Bleveland, stuck like magnet, Bitch ass nigga, shoot at your mammy, need to stand down, up my stamina, take it to trial, get an appeal, take it to trial, yeah, you gon wack em,”
“pay for that casket, that’s just if we whack em,”
“my young niggas pulling up, Bentleys, Aston Martins, Raris and Teslas, Strapped with FN, choppas, carbons,”
“YSL slimey and shady,”
“watch me whack that bitch, pop em like cyst, Glock with the assist,”
RICO SAYS: The indictment states that Defendants DEAMONTE KENDRICK, SERGIO “Gunna” KITCHENS, and JEFFERY “Young Thug” WILLIAMS, associates of YSL, appeared in video released on social media. The indictment states that the lyrics openly promote gang activities and are an “overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy.”
SOHH EXPLAINER: The song ironically teases YSL’s legal prowess and ironclad defense. They mock law enforcement who question their whereabouts, feigning ignorance about crimes saying they never left ”Bleveland” aka Cleveland St in Atlanta. They reference committing a murder using an illegal glock firearm. By making these pronouncements on the song, they gave prosecutors details that they linked to real life people, incidents and specific weapons. Investigators seized a slew of weapons in the sweep at the homes of the 28 YSL defendants, including an illegal “switch.” Possession of such a weapon – that sprays rounds of bullets indiscriminately – is punishable with 10-15 years in federal prison.
9. “Eww,” feat Young Thug
“Red just like Elmo but never fuckin giggle,”
“YSL won’t fold, pick his ass off from the balcony,”
“YSL, wipe nigga nose,”
“I’ma fuck for the cash then she getting robbed by Tick,”
“In Bentley on West Lee getting trailed by sniper,”
“All ever wanted was the money, put your hands in the air if you dare, any motherfucker to step over here, F&N put em in wheelchair.”
RICO SAYS: Defendant JEFFERY “Young Thug” WILLIAMS, an associate of YSL, appeared in a video for “ Eww” that was released on social media. The indictment states that the lyrics are “an overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy” meaning they boldly promoted and enabled the gang’s criminal activity.
SOHH EXPLAINER: In this song, a murdered body is mentioned on a balcony and Tick is mentioned here robbing a female victim. Tick is an associate and member of YSL. His real name is TRONTAVIOUS STEPHENS but he is also sometimes referred to as Slug. He is a part of the indictment as well and is charged with POSSESSION OF FIREARM DURING COMMISSION OF FELONY.
Many hip-hop fans are upset that song lyrics are being used in court to prosecute artists for their art. Fans feel that freedom of speech is supposed to protect artists from this form of prosecution and rappers Young Thug and Gunna are being unfairly prosecuted by the state of Georgia. On social media, many expressed their displeasure.
One user on Twitter, identified as @DebatingHipHop_, was upset with how Young Thug was being treated by the court system, tweeting “Young Thug wasn’t given a bond and will face a life sentence if convicted on all counts. They are treating him as the kingpin of YSL and are using lyrics against him.
They are also building cases on other Atlanta rappers including Lil Baby and Playboi Carti and more.” Another user on Twitter identified as @cadenceweapon implied that there was a racial bias in using lyrics against the hip-hop artist and not other notable music artists he tweeted, “The YSL RICO case cherry-picks certain Young Thug lyrics as evidence of a criminal conspiracy. But these famous words never attracted legal scrutiny:
Johnny Cash: “I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die”
Why is artistic license viable for some artists but not for others?”