The highly anticipated Young Thug trial is underway with both sides throwing around terms that aren’t particularly common — or have different meanings, depending on who’s talking.
The rapper, whose real name is Jeffery Williams, is in court in Fulton County, Georgia, fighting gang and racketeering charges in connection with what prosecutors say is a violent street gang he co-founded called Young Slime Life (YSL). He and 27 defendants other are facing RICO charges and have each been individually charged with other violations. Mr Williams has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
But perhaps the most viral moments from the trial so far have consisted of the unusual terminology and references being used.
Here’s a guide to the most important - and perplexing - words and phrases so far:
YSL takes on a few meanings in this trial.
According to its website, YSL stands for Young Stoner Life, a record label that includes artists Young Thug, Gunna, Yak Gotti, Unfoonk. They are all defendants in this trial.
The prosecution is arguing that “YSL” also stands for “Young Slime Life,” a “criminal street gang.”
During his opening remarks, Mr Steel discussed the alleged origins of “YSL.” He said the abbreviation stemmed from the “YSL” logo on Yves Saint Laurent pants.
Defence attorney Brian Steel pulled up a Powerpoint slide during his opening remarks showing a photo of his client, Mr Williams, flashing a hand sign. The indictment states that Mr Williams is flashing a “‘Bloods’ gang sign.” Mr Steel said the prosecution is arguing that his hand is in the shape of a “B.”
Mr Steel said that his client was holding up the letter “P” before referencing a song by Mr Williams and his codefendant Sergio Kitchens, aka Gunna, called “pushin P.” The lawyer translated the song to mean “pushing positivity.”
According to Mr Steel, “It means, any circumstance you’re in, if you think positively about something, you can make it through. You’re pushing positivity.”
The term has been represented online by the 🅿️ emoji and is understood to mean “keeping it real” or, according to Mr Kitchens on The Breakfast Club, it “could” mean keeping it “player.”
Mr Steel, the attorney for Mr Williams, pointed out that his client had two major musical influences growing up: Lil Wayne and Tupac. Tupac famously defined “THUG LIFE” as standing for “The Hate You Give Little Infants F***s Everyone.”
“That was not what ‘thug’ meant to Jeffery,” Mr Steel said, offering up a different definition: “Truly Humble Under God.”
The prosecution and some law enforcement witnesses have mentioned “SLATT.” The indictment says that it is an abbreviation for “Slime Love All the Time.”
Atlanta Police Department detective Mark Belknap, a witness for the prosecution, told jurors that “SLATT” is an identifier of the gang YSL, and can often be used in tattoos, graffiti or on social media.
“Studio Gangster” is a derogatory term, according to Detective Belknap.
Mr Belknap said the term is used when someone “takes on the persona” of being violent when entering the music studio, but may not be in real life. So, calling someone that is a “slur” and a “huge sign of disrespect” to those actually involved in a criminal gang, he explained.
Bloods are a national gang. “YSL claims affiliation with” this gang, the indictment says.
“Bloods gang members typically and often will disrespect the rival Crips by avoiding the use of the letter C,” often replacing it with the letter “B” or an X or by crossing out the letter entirely, Detective Belknap said.
In her opening statement, defence attorney Angela D’Williams, who represents defendant Rodalius Ryan, referenced the anime called Bleach.
“This reminds me of an anime named Bleach,” she said, before describing that the storyline of the “Bounts,” who are “villains of the whole thing,” takes place only in season four and five. After those seasons, they aren’t mentioned, Ms D’Williams said.
“Why don’t you hear about these important characters? Because they’re filler characters,” she continued. “Me and Rodalius, we’re filler characters. We’re not integral to the story.” The attorney was trying to downplay her client’s alleged involvement: “They just drag him out of prison to jail to make this bigger than it has to be.”
Mr Ryan is only charged with one count, the same racketeering charge that every defendant is facing. He is currently serving a life sentence after being convicted for murder.
RICO stands for the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, which is a state law in Georgia based on the 1970 federal law, allowing the prosecution of alleged criminal organizations.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis explained at a press conference following the 2022 indictment: “RICO is a tool that allows a prosecutor’s office and law enforcement to tell the whole story. We use it as a tool so they can have all the information they need to make a wise decision.”
Donald Trump and his 18 codefendants were also charged under this Georgia statute.
Mr Williams’ brother Quantavious Grier is known in rap as Unfoonk. He was named a defendant in the case, but entered a plea deal last year. However, Grier violated part of the plea deal, and was sentenced to nine years and six months in prison.
Although his rap name doesn’t seem to have the same underlying meaning as “thug” in Young Thug, Urban Dictionary defines “Unfoonk” as meaning “the man of the hour.”
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