A.R. Shaw Discusses Opening Statements Of Young Thug, YSL RICO Trial With ABC News

Opening arguments in the Young Thug, YSL trial began this week in Fulton County. The trial is one of the more prominent cases where rap lyrics will be used as evidence in court. A few weeks ago, Judge Ural Glanville ruled that 17 different lyrics can be used as evidence against Young Thug and his co-defendants.

A.R. Shaw, Executive Editor of ADW and author of the book “Trap History,” spoke with ABC News Live to discuss the trial and how lyrics will have an impact.

“Young Thug is a world-renown star from Atlanta,” Shaw told ABC News. “He’s done songs with Elton John,  individuals such as Drake, J. Cole. He’s had two number one albums. So his music resonates around the world.”

Shaw also discussed how the trial could feature multiple high-profile people. On the first day of opening statements, Kevin Liles, 300 Entertainment CEO, mad an appearance,

“One interesting tidbit is that someone who appeared in court was Kevin Liles, who is the CEO of 300 Entertainment, which is the company that distributes Young Thug’s music,” Shaw said. “Kevin Liles has created this campaign called ‘Protect Black Art,’ which is a rally against the use of rap lyrics in court. Kevin might not be the only celebrity that shows up during this entire trial. Individuals who are on a witness list includes Lil Wayne, Killer Mike, and T.I.”

Shaw spoke about the impact of the trial on hip-hop and if rappers will be more careful when it comes to lyrics.

“Music has always been dangerous. Art is always dangerous,” Shaw said. “D.A. Fani Willis pointed out if you admit to a crime, with your lyrics, she’s going to use it in court. Now there have been several individuals such as Congressman Hank Johnson who introduced the Rap Act bill, which would limit the use of lyrics as evidence in a federal court case. And also California’s Governor Gavin Newsom signed the first legislation which limits the use of rap lyrics as evidence in court…There’s been over 500 court cases where rap lyrics have been used as criminal evidence.”

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