YSL RICO case: Some Young Thug lyrics can be used as evidence
Fox - 5 Atlanta / VideoElephant
Young Thug's attorney said his moniker actually stands for "Truly Humble Under God" whilst defending him in his RICO trial.
"Most people think about a thug as a criminal, but to Jeffery, 'thug' had a different meaning," said lawyer Brian Steel in an Atlanta court on Thursday.
Steel said that Young Thug, whose real name is Jeffery Lamar Williams, wanted to break his community out of poverty and an "endless cycle of hopelessness," and that if he achieved his goal, he would be "Truly Humble Under God."
"That's what 'thug' means," said Steel, who also alluded to Tupac Shakir saying "Thug Life" was an acronym for denouncing hate.
Williams has been charged with cofounding and running an Atlanta street gang called Young Slime Life by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis. Young Slime Life shares an acronym with Williams' record label Young Stoner Life.
Other claims made during his opening statement included Steel saying that the gang call themselves YSL "because the pants, tight-fitting pants, the women's pants that they're wearing it says YSL, Yves Saint Laurent. That's where it comes from."
Another argument made by Steel was that 'pushing P', the title of a song featuring Young Thug, was short for "pushing positivity."
Prosecutors had accused Williams of flashing a gang sign in a photo online, but Steel claimed he was simply forming a 'P' with his fingers.
"It means, in any circumstance you're in, if you think positively about something, you can make it through. You're pushing positivity," said Steel.
Steel's main argument is that prosecutors had misrepresented evidence, and that it makes no sense for Williams to be running a street gang whilst already being a successful rapper."
"He's not sitting there telling people to kill people. He doesn't need their money," Steel said.
Prosecutors are accusing Williams and 27 other individuals of racketeering, murder, assault, theft, and drug possession. Alleging, Williams to be at the centre of it, with gang members seeking his permission to kill another rapper.
Steel has said Williams was wrongly charged on all accounts.
A RICO conviction can lead to a prison sentence of up to 20 years.