Hip Hop / News

Young Thug Names Hip Hop Experts On Witness List In YSl Rico Trial

Young Thug

Young Thug’s YSL Racketeering trial is fast approaching, with the trial set to begin the second week of January 2023, and the rapper has curated his life of defense witnesses he’s planning to call.

According to reports, Young Thug has included a series of hip hop ‘experts’ and academics to aid his defense. The rapper is facing several charges, including murder and committing crimes in furtherance of a gang in contravention of Georgia’s racketeering act, to name a few.

On Thursday, All Hip Hop revealed that the Atlanta rapper’s legal team, led by Brian Steel, submitted a list of witnesses on Sunday who will testify in his defense. It’s unclear yet what the rapper’s defense is, but he has been supporting a Protect Black Art initiative to stop prosecutors from using songs and lyrics in criminal prosecution without more. Now, it seems that the witness list gives some insight into his defense which will address his music and lyrics being used against him.

Among those on the list is hip-hop historian Dr. Erik Nelson who is well known as the co-author of the book, ‘Rap on Trial: Race, Lyrics, and Guilt in America’ which speaks to the link between hip-hop and mass incarceration of black youth.

Two university professors, Dr. Adam Dunbar from the University of Nevada and Dr. Charis Kubrin from the University of California, will testify as “experts in hip-hop lyrics.”

The rapper is also planning to call an expert on cell phones, a counselor for drug treatment, and a video analysis expert.

The evidence by the prosecution against Young Thug includes evidence from cell phones and video graphics evidence but mostly song lyrics quoted from tracks “Anybody,” “Ski,” and “Take It To Trial,” along with posts on social media.

Despite defense arguments to the judge to exclude the evidence based on Thug’s constitutional right to free speech, the evidence was allowed.

“The admission and use of these lyrics/poetry/artistry against [Young Thug] in his upcoming trial would be a Constitutional violation and an abuse of discretion, too prejudicial and unconstitutional,” Thug’s attorney had written in May to Fulton County Court judge Ural Glanville.

The rapper called the use of rap lyrics in his trial racist and discriminatory. Still, ahead of his trial, Young Thug recently scored a victory when judge Glanville ruled that evidence taken from cell phones belonging to Thug in 2015 was inadmissible as it was not procured with a warrant.

Several other developments have taken place with the YSL case over the last week as fellow rapper Gunna as well as alleged co-founder of YSL, Walter Murphy, Slimelife Shawty, and Young Thug’s brother, Unfoonk all accepted plea deals for suspended sentences and probation.