Young Thug and Gunna Indicted on Racketeering Charges, Prosecutors Call YSL a “Criminal Street Gang”
Both rappers face charges of conspiring to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act in a grand jury indictment of Thug’s YSL collective, which cites the artists’ lyrics.
Young Thug was arrested on May 9 in Atlanta on Georgia state charges of participation in street gang activity and conspiring to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, online jail records show. The rapper’s arrest is the result of a larger grand jury indictment that names 28 members and associates of his label and imprint YSL (aka Young Slime Life, Young Stoner Life, and Young Slatt Life), Pitchfork can confirm via court documents.
Among the names listed in the 56-count indictment is Gunna, who was also charged with conspiring to violate RICO. Yak Gotti, Peewee Roscoe, Duke, and Thug’s brother Unfoonk were also indicted. The indictment defines YSL as a “criminal street gang” founded in 2012 with an affiliation with the Bloods.
While all 28 defendants were charged with conspiracy to violate the RICO Act, Thug and Gunna’s co-defendants face additional charges including armed robbery, aggravated assault, drugs and weapons charges. Yak Gotti and four others were charged with murder for the January 2015 death of Donovan Thomas, Jr., who is described by prosecutors as “a rival gang member.” Young Thug, whose real name is Jeffery Lamar Williams, is also accused of renting a car that was later used “in the commission of” that murder.
There’s a long section of the indictment titled “acts in furtherance of the conspiracy,” which cites incidents between 2013 and 2022. Some are examples of crimes committed, including Peewee Roscoe’s 2015 felony offense of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon—the time he reportedly shot at Lil Wayne’s bus. Roscoe’s conviction was overturned in 2018.
Many of the acts listed under that heading are YSL-related songs, videos, social media posts, and lyrics that are deemed “an overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy.” Examples include the Young Thug and Juice WRLD collaboration “Bad Boy” (including quoted passages from the late Juice WRLD and not Thug). Here’s an excerpt that cites “Just How It Is,” the opening track from So Much Fun, as an example:
Defendant JEFFERY WILLIAMS, an associate of YSL, posted a video titled “Just How It Is,” with lyrics stating “I escaped every one of the licks cause I was supposed to be rich, I don’t care nothing bout no cop, I’m tellin you just how it is,” “Hit em with the MAC now, now his whole body scabbed,” “I done for the crew, I done did the robbin, I done did the jackin, now I’m full rappin,” “last nigga tried me almost got popped in Lenox, ask the cops, ask the detectives, they know all the business, ask the cops and the detectives, all the jurisdictions,” “gave the lawyer close to two mil, he handles all the killings,” “we don’t speak bout shit on wax, it’s all mob business, we know to kill the biggest cats of all kittens,” an overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy.
The indictment also claims that Gunna was wearing chains that read “YSL” and “Slatt” in the video for his Lil Keed collaboration “Fox 5.” Prosecutors argued that his wardrobe in the video and the line “We got ten-hundred round choppers” amount to “an overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy.”
Among the charges in the indictment is conspiracy to commit murder. This section claims that Christian Eppinger (listed in the indictment as “Bhris”) and Antonio “Obama” Sumlin discussed their desire to “obtain the permission” of Thug to make an attempt on the life of YFN Lucci.
“I’ll tell you the response to any allegation is Mr. Williams committed no crime whatsoever and we will fight to my last drop of blood to clear him,” Young Thug’s attorney Brian Steel told WSB-TV. When reached by Pitchfork, Steel added, “Mr. Williams has committed no violation of law, whatsoever. We will fight this case ethically, legally and zealously. Mr. Williams will be cleared.”
YSL has released two Slime Languagecompilations; the 2021 installment debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard chart. Thug ended 2021 with the release of his new album Punk and a performance on Saturday Night Live. The album featured huge guests including Drake, J. Cole, Travis Scott, Mac Miller, Future, the late Juice WRLD, A$AP Rocky, Post Malone, and Doja Cat. Gunna’s new YSL-released album DS4Ever came out earlier this year.
Pitchfork has reached out to the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office and representatives for Young Thug and Gunna.