Why Young Thug's popularity is making his court case so complex

The racketeering case against Young Thug is facing obstacles in securing a jury due to the length of the trial and controversy around his lyrics.
Posted at 7:55 PM, Feb 21, 2023

There's no end in sight for the high-profile racketeering case against rapper Young Thug, as the jury selection for the trial is expected to last several more months.

The Fulton County, Georgia chief judge said earlier this month that around 1,200 jurors will be summoned over the next couple weeks with the goal of finding 12 trial jurors and six alternates.

Young Thug is best known for co-writing the Grammys' 2019 song of the year, "This is America." But last spring, the 31-year-old was charged — and remains behind bars — for co-founding the criminal street gang Young Slime Life, better known as YSL. 

There are several reasons for the lengthy jury selection, including: Young Thug's fame, the controversy surrounding the musician's song lyrics as evidence, and the length of the trial itself.

Experts like former judge and Court TV host Ashley Wilcott told Scripps News the trial could take six to nine months.

Many potential jurors in the Atlanta area, especially those with families, have told the court they would be unable to take time off work for the trial.

Experts worry that because of those financial and professional concerns, the jury will comprise mainly of wealthy or retired people. One jury consultant told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "That would not be a jury of anyone's peers."

Witnesses for the high-profile trial include music executives and fellow rappers like Killa Mike.

Young Thug is one of 28 defendants, and some — including rapper and YSL member Gunna — were released from jail after pleading guilty.

California restricts use of rap lyrics as evidence in court

California restricts use of rap lyrics as evidence in court

Some people close to the hip-hop scene say this move will help decriminalize artistic expression and hopefully deemphasize lyrics about crime.