It’s been over a year since Fulton County, Georgia District Attorney indicted the rapper, Jeffery Williams and his YSL crew for RICO charges in May of 2022 and Monday set the stage for opening statements delivered by the State vs “YSL.”
But on Tuesday, Thug’s Lawyer Brian Steel’s opening included strong statements about the music business. Namely how they music industry creates and maintains beefs and personas for marketing purposes.
“You will learn that this is part of being involved in hip hop and rap. There’s all these battles going across social media. It generates interest, much like the NFL has rivalries with the Saints and Falcons,” said Steel.
Steel tries to distance Thug from 2015 shooting of Lil Wayne’s bus. The video with the guns challenging Wayne was all Thug’s manager’s idea.
“You will learn that this is part of being involved in hip hop and rap. There’s all these battles going across social media. It generates… pic.twitter.com/tWN9Z11tVD
— Meghann Cuniff (@meghanncuniff) November 28, 2023
The trial has started off to much controversy Monday as well with Chief Deputy District Attorney Adriane Love. Ironically, Love went the poetic route. She was quoting “The Jungle Book” and attempting to show a parallels of sorts using the “Wolfpack” mentality as fodder. Which ended up being a long soliloquy boasting confidence of the evidence.
And there we’re objections. Aside from being accused of showing jurors evidence that was excluded by Judge Ural Glanville, the defense was given more ammo to contest. Love was objected by Steel mid-sentence, for attempting to ‘shift the burden of proof.’ Some have said this will be grounds for appeal should the State still convict the rapper in the long run, as the objection was sustained and further explained by Judge Glanville. Watch the clip below to see the full exchange.
“What you will not hear any evidence of is that the defendants were not involved in a criminal street gang.”
My jaw actually dropped when the DA said this in her opening in the Young Thug trial. This is the kind of burden shifting that leads to convictions being overturned. pic.twitter.com/TP6Pm3tEZq
— Meghann Cuniff (@meghanncuniff) November 27, 2023
The defense also brought up the common distrust of the police and specifically to how “Jeffery” as Steel refers to him, witnessed multiple accounts of police misconduct. Specifically how his family had been mistreated by the police on several occasions. Stating his father was harassed by the police routinely, detailing how his older brother “Beanie” was shot in the chest and his mother handcuffed as they watched him lose his life. Watch more below.
Prosecutors were able to get a motion for mistrial dismissed and we’re granted the right to use his lyrics as evidence in the trial. Attorney’s for the other three defendants also gave opening arguments in the hours long court spectacle. Here’s how FOX News Coverage from Atlanta covered the second day’s activities.
This case holds an important place in hip-hop, as not only are his lyrics being used but the very culture is on full display, leaving the greater discussion at a crossroads. Do label’s and the industry as a whole generate rap beefs to sell records? Are there street consequences for the marketing approach of the music? This case should keep these topics on fans minds as we watch closely. Watch Meghann Cuniff aka Meghann the Reporter discuss the case live as a guest below.