Rappers’ Own Lyrics Are Putting Them in Jail – Now the Music Industry Is Fighting Back

The indictments of Young Thug and Gunna this year rallied executives, lawyers and artists to support legislation on the state and federal levels

After finishing 2021 with his third No. 1 single, his third No. 1 album and two Grammy nominations, Atlanta-based rapper Young Thug was gearing up to take 2022 by storm. But months later, an Atlanta prosecutor indicted him on 56 criminal charges that also branded his record label, Young Slime Life, as a “criminal street gang” responsible for multiple violations of the RICO Act.

The arrest of one of rap’s biggest emerging stars, as well as fellow rapper Gunna, sent shock waves through the music industry. Young Thug (né Jeffrey Lamar Williams) and Gunna (born Sergio Kitchens) have pleaded not guilty but remain under house arrest with their bonds denied on numerous occasions. Meanwhile, some of music’s top executives, organizations, lawyers and artists have refused to remain silent.

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Brian Welk

Film Reporter • brian.welk@thewrap.com • Twitter: @brianwelk