Everyone knows that Bob Marley didn’t really “killed the sheriff”, as his 1973 hit suggests. But for American rappers, a song’s lyrics can be seen as an admission of a crime. Artist Young Thug, 30, was arrested on Tuesday (May 10) alongside 27 other associates at his label, Young Slime Life (YSL). They are accused of violating Rico’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. In his songs, Young Thug evokes murders and sings about belonging to a gang.
“It is revealing that [l’arrestation] took place in Atlanta – America’s hip-hop capital,” indicates the Los Angeles Times.
Real name Jeffery Williams, the Atlanta rapper revolutionized the American hip-hop scene, much like the duo Outkast, also from Georgia. Beyond its “words imbued with violence, explain it New York Times, Young Thug owes its success to the expansion of its musical palette, from festive to psychedelic, sometimes passing through the whimsical”. which has particularly influenced contemporary hip-hop and rap. In 2019, he won a Grammy Award for co-writing This Is America with Childish Gambino.
A danger to freedom of expression
In an 88-page indictment documentGeorgia prosecutors accuse the rapper of being a central figure in the “YSL gang”, “who has committed or intended to commit a long list of crimes: murder, assault and armed robbery, car theft with violence, fraud and drug trafficking”. He risks twenty years of pr