Young Thug‘s music has been called into play as jury selection for his trail began this week with the judge reciting some of his lyrics in court.

According to 11Alive, on Wednesday (January 4), potential jurors watched a three-hour video of Judge Ural Glanville reading the sweeping indictment that saw 28 Young Stoner Life (YSL) affiliates arrested under Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) charges.

Included in the reading were select lyrics from Thugger’s 2016 single “Slime Shit,” which prosecutors have sought to include as evidence, calling music released by the YSL crew “overt acts in furtherance of the conspiracy,” WSB-TV reports.

In a clip that surfaced on social media, Glanville can be seen reciting the song’s hook, which hears Young Thug rap: “Hey, this that slime shit, hey/ Y SL shit, hey/ Killin’ 12 shit, hey/ Fuck a jail shit, hey/ … Cookin’ white brick, hey, hey/ […] I’m not new to this, hey, I’m so true to this, hey I done put a whole slime on a hunnid licks.

Judge Glanville also read lyrics from the song’s actual verses by Lil Duke, PeeWee Roscoe and Yak Gotti, including: “Slime or get slimed/ […] In the VIP and I got that pistol on my hip/ You prayin’ that you live/ I’m prayin’ that I hit/ […] Hey, this that slime shit/ Fuck, fuck the police (Fuck ’em), in a high speed.

Young Thug’s attorneys filed a motion last November asking to exclude songs, lyrics, music videos and social posts from the evidence in the trial.

“The admission and use of these lyrics/poetry/artistry against [Young Thug] in his upcoming trial would be a Constitutional violation and an abuse of discretion, too prejudicial and unconstitutional,” the motion read. “Moreover, using these lyrics/poetry/artistry/speech against [Young Thug] is racist and discriminatory because the jury will be so poisoned and prejudiced by these lyrics/poetry/artistry/speech.”

However the prosecution is defending their use of lyrics in the courtroom as they believe Thug’s words are “preserving, protecting and enhancing the reputation, power, and territory of the enterprise [YSL].”

The use of Young Thug’s music in this trial arrives at a time when the topic of rap lyrics as criminal evidence has been at the forefront of several conversations across the country.

In September 2022, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed The Decriminalizing Artistic Expression Act (AB 2799), effectively banning the use of rap lyrics as evidence in court and making California the first state to pass such a law.

The New York Senate attempted to pass a similar bill in May of last year but failed to get approval from the State Assembly. Weeks later, 300 Entertainment CEO Kevin Liles and Atlantic Records COO Julie Greenwald launched a petition dubbed “Rap Music on Trial: Protect Black Art,” which focused on the way prosecutors have continuously attempted to use Hip Hop lyrics in a courtroom.

The petition details explicitly how Young Thug, Gunna, and the YSL collective have fallen victim to this prosecutorial tactic during their ongoing RICO case.

“In the indictment, Fulton County prosecutors argue that lyrics like ‘ready for war like I’m Russia’ are a confession of criminal intent,” it states in the petition.

In November 2022, Warner Music Group, Sony Music, and the Universal Music Group penned an open letter, published as an op-ed in the New York Times and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution titled Art on Trial: Protect Black Art, that included signatures from artists such as 50 Cent, J. Cole, Travis Scott, Post Malone, Alicia Keys, Megan Thee Stallion and more.

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The letter was also supported by other major companies including Spotify, TikTok and YouTube Music. The contents of the letter called for prosecutors to stop using rap as evidence in trials, and for legislators at the state and federal level to limit how much of that work can be used against defendants.

“In courtrooms across America, the trend of prosecutors using artists’ creative expression against them is happening with troubling frequency,” read the letter. “Rappers are storytellers, creating entire worlds populated with complex characters who can play both hero and villain. But more than any other art form, rap lyrics are essentially being used as confessions in an attempt to criminalize Black creativity and artistry.”

The letter continued, referring to the “obvious disregard” of free speech: “The use of lyrics against artists in this way is un-American and simply wrong.”

2 ChainzJohn LegendKiller Mike, and Mary J Blige also signed the letter. In January, JAY-Z, Kelly Rowland and Meek Mill did the same thing when they supported the prevention of rap lyrics being used as evidence in criminal cases.

Jury selection in Young Thug’s trial is expected to last five to six weeks. As part of the process, potential jurors have been asked to fill out a 250-question survey to help the court sort out their eligibility.

While several members of the YSL crew have accepted plea deals surrounding the RICO case, 13 others will be tried alongside Thug.