The hour-long documentary, made by ABC News Studios, is titled Rap Trap: Hip-Hop on Trial and will focus on the sprawling criminal case against Thug, Gunna and their Atlanta-based collective while exploring the debate around rap lyrics being used as evidence in criminal prosecutions.
Airing February 23 on Hulu, the doc will feature interviews with 300 Entertainment CEO Kevin Liles, Young Thug’s ex-girlfriend Jerrika Karlae and other artists including Fat Joe, Killer Mike and will.i.am.
“Rap music is judged unlike any other genre like Black people are judged unlike any other people,” Killer Mike says in the trailer for the documentary, which can be viewed below.
It was announced last May that numerous lyrics from Young Thug will be used by prosecutors in his RICO trial, including from his songs “Anybody,” “Take it to Trial,” “Ski” and “Slatty.”
The prosecution has argued that the lyrics are “preserving, protecting and enhancing the reputation, power, and territory of the enterprise [YSL].”
Rap Trap: Hip-Hop on Trial will also highlight the legal woes of former No Limit rapper McKinley “Mac” Phipps Jr., who served 21 years in prison for a crime he claims he did not commit. Various lyrics of his were used to help convict him of manslaughter in 2001 over the death of a 19-year-old man at a Louisiana nightclub the year before.
The documentary’s announcement comes after Gunna (real name Sergio Kitchens) was released from jail after pleading guilty to a racketeering conspiracy charge in December.
He was sentenced to five years with one year served due to the time he spent behind bars after being arrested last May as part of the sweeping indictment against YSL, which prosecutors allege is a “criminal street gang” behind a series of violent crimes.
The DS4Ever rapper has faced an onslaught of snitching allegations since pleading out, but has insisted from day one that he never ratted on anyone.
“While I have agreed to always be truthful, I want to make it perfectly clear that I have NOT made any statements, have NOT been interviewed, have NOT cooperated, have NOT agreed to testify or be a witness for or against any party in the case and have absolutely NO intention of being involved in the trial process in any way,” he said in a statement following his release from jail.
As for Young Thug, the YSL leader has suffered a string of bad luck during the jury selection process in the RICO trial. Thug’s lawyer Brian Steele previously claimed that a potential juror had attempted to reach out to him via email. While the contents of the message weren’t disclosed during the hearing, it was enough for the judge to order an investigation.
Most recently in January, Thug and one of his 13 co-defendants were accused of exchanging drugs while court was in session.
In a motion filed by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis on January 19, Khalieff Adams allegedly handed Thug a single Percocet pill in the middle of court proceedings, with the entire incident being captured on closed-circuit cameras inside the Fulton County Superior Courthouse.
In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, YSL co-founder Mondo shed light on Young Thug’s mindset while awaiting trial, saying the rapper remains optimistic but is “disappointed” about certain things that have transpired during his case.
“I’ve been talking to Mama Thug, I’ve been talking to his sisters. Thug is keeping a good spirit and keeping his head up, but certain stuff he’s just disappointed about,” Mondo said, although he didn’t go into specifics.