Young Thug

Rappers Young Thug, Gunna accused of blackmail

Kate Brumbach, The Associated Press

Date: May 10, 2022 1:31 PM EST

Last update Tuesday, May 10, 2022 4:42 PM EST

ATLANTA (Associated Press) — Atlanta rapper Young Thug co-founded a violent street gang that has committed multiple murders, shootings, and carjackings over nearly a decade and has promoted its activities in songs and on social media, prosecutors allege in a sprawling indictment. Parties accuse him, rapper Gunna and 26 others with blackmail.

In the 88-page indictment filed Monday in Fulton County, Georgia, it quotes words from multiple music videos as evidence and charges alleged gang members with violent crimes to raise funds for the gang, enhance its reputation, and consolidate its power and territory.

“No matter what your notoriety, what your notoriety, if you come to Fulton County, Georgia, and commit crimes, … you will become a target and focus of this attorney general’s office,” Fulton County Attorney Fanny Willis said Tuesday in a press conference announced about the accusations.

Young Thug, whose first name is Jeffrey Lamar Williams, co-wrote the hit song “This is America” ​​with Childish Gambino, and made history when he became the first hip-hop track to win Song of the Year Grammy in 2019. Fulton County prosecutors say he’s in the late In 2012, he and two others founded Young Slime Life, a violent criminal street gang known as YSL that belongs to the national bloods gang.

He was arrested Monday at his home in the upscale Buckhead neighborhood north of downtown Atlanta. He was being held in the Fulton County Jail on charges of conspiracy to break the RICO Act in Georgia and participation in a street criminal gang.

Young Thug’s attorney, Brian Steele, told news outlets that “Mr. Williams committed no crime whatsoever” and would fight to the last drop of blood to exonerate him.

Also charged in the indictment are rapper Jonah, whose real name is Sergio Kitchens, and aspiring rapper Christian Ebbinger, who was already in prison and accused of shooting a police officer in Atlanta six times in February. Fulton County Sheriff Pat Lapatt said Jonah, who is accused of conspiring to break the state’s Ricoh law, was not in custody as of Tuesday afternoon.

In addition to the specific charges, the indictment included an extensive list of 181 acts that prosecutors say were committed as of 2013 as part of the alleged RICO plot to advance the interests of the gang.

In 2015, Williams rented an Infiniti sedan used by five alleged gang members when they shot and killed a rival gang member, according to the indictment.

Williams and Kitchens in 2017 had methamphetamine, hydrocodone, and marijuana they intended to distribute and were involved in a traffic stop the following year in which one vehicle contained several high-capacity magazine weapons, including an AK-47, according to the indictment.

He quotes lyrics from multiple Williams music videos, including one from 2018 in which he says, “I’ve never killed anyone but I have a relationship with this body,” and “I told them to shoot hundreds of rounds.”

Willis said she respects the First Amendment right to free speech, but believes that the lyrics mentioned in the indictment are “public and predicate acts” supporting the RICO charge.

“The First Amendment does not protect people from being used as evidence by prosecutors if that is the case,” she said.

The indictment also accuses gang members of attempting to kill rapper YFN Lucci, whose real name is Rayshawn Bennett, by “stabbing and stabbing” him with a leg in the Fulton County Jail. YFN Lucci was among dozens of people charged in another RICO indictment linked to the gang in Fulton County a year ago.

The indictment also said an alleged gang member had shot a bus in 2015 carrying rapper Lil Wayne.

Willis said she intends to seek the maximum possible penalties for the people accused in the indictment. For at least some of them, it could mean life imprisonment.

Thanks to his high-pitched rap vocals, Young Thug is known for his hit songs including “Stoner” and “Best Friend”. In the hyper-masculine hip-hop scene, Thug refused to play by traditional gender rules. He wore a dress on the cover of his 2016 mixtape “Jeffery” and said there’s no such thing as sex as part of the Calvin Klein campaign.

Gunna, signed to Thug’s Young Stoner Life, scored him number two on the Billboard 200 album chart with “DS4Ever” this year. The Grammy-nominated artist is best known for promoting the viral rumor “Pushin P,” a term regularly used on social media by athletes like LeBron James and Dez Bryant, along with professional sports teams like the Arizona Cardinals, Denver Nuggets and the Toronto Raptors. The rapper said the term is based on “keeping it real”.

In April 2021, Young Thug and Gunna announced the release of 30 low-level prisoners who could not afford themselves. Gunna opened a free grocery and clothing store in his former middle school for students and their families in the area where he grew up.

Record label Young Thug refers to its artists as part of “Slime Family”, and the compilation album called “Slime Language 2” hit #1 on the charts in April 2021.

Associated Press writers Sudhin Thanwala and Jonathan Landrum Jr. in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

The spelling of the name given to Young Thug to Jeffery Lamar Williams has been corrected.

2022-05-10 20:42:29

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