Cassius Life Featured Video
BET Hip Hop Awards 2021 - Arrivals

Source: Paras Griffin / Getty

Young Thug’s RICO trial is finally underway this week, and there have already been surprising revelations.

It’s been ruled that his lyrics can be used as evidence against him, and though a controversial decision to not separate the art from the artist, his lawyers are ready to argue against it.

Attorney Brian Steel details Thug’s upbringing in the Atlanta projects –like seeing his brother get shot and seeing drug dealing and drug abuse– as simply a part of his childhood observations and not crimes.

In Steel’s opening statement, he says Thug, born Jeffery Williams, was born into “a society that was filled with depression, despair, and helplessness.”

Steel argues that Thug’s lore in his neighborhood has led to his legend growing, and when he engaged in online rivalries, it wasn’t real and just to hype up his latest music release.

“You will learn that this is part of being involved in hip hop or rap,” Steel said. “Battles going across social media generates interest much like the NFL has rivalries.”

As his bank account grew, Thug took care of the people around him, which included renting people cars while being unaware of what they’d be used for, which in one case was a murder.

“He’s not the crater. He’s trying to pull people out of poverty,” Steel defended, according to the AP.

His defense team even defended the name Young Thug, claiming it doesn’t have a negative connotation and actually stands for “Truly Humble Under God.”

His YSL record label, which prosecutors are trying to call a gang, stands for Young Stoner Life, but it was really just an homage to his favorite skinny jeans made by French fashion house Yves Saint Laurent.

In another attempt to paint Thug as an uplifting member of his community, Steel also claimed that his hit 2022 song featuring Gunna, entitled “Pushin P,” isn’t a drug reference and means to push positivity.

“It means, any circumstance you’re in, if you think positively about something, you can make it through. You’re pushing positivity,” his lawyer said.

Prosecutors are ultimately accusing Thug of heading a violent criminal street gang since 2012. While some of the accused –including Gunna– took pleas, Thug and several others are facing racketeering and drug and gun charges.

Between the RICO charges and two gun charges –including possessing an illegal machine gun in 2022 — the NY Times reports that Thugger is facing up to 120 years in prison.

See how social media’s reacting to Thug’s defense below.