UPDATE: Per HipHopDX, the rapper offered a $750,000 secured bond which included liens on his parent’s home, house arrest, and electronic monitoring. According to Sadow, the hip hop site noted that the various conditions that the Atlanta rapper would’ve had to adhere to included three-quarters of a million dollars secured bond. Kitchens would've also been subject to the forfeiture of three properties and allowed prosecutors to record all of his phone calls. And his parents would be on the hook if he skipped bail.
ORIGINAL: The ongoing federal racketeering case against Young Stoner Life Records (YSL) has another new twist. Prosecutors allege that rapper, Gunna, 28, is in a “command position” within the organization, which — they say, is more than a record label but a gang. He has pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.
The rapper, whose legal name is Sergio Giovanni Kitchens, is represented by attorney Steven H. Sadow who sent a statement on the bond denial to Pitchfork, writing, “The Court was obviously concerned about threats and intimidation of witnesses. We believe when the Court hears the evidence, not just the prosecutor's words. It will find that Sergio’s release on bond will not, directly or indirectly, pose a significant risk to witnesses. We look forward to having an evidentiary hearing on this as soon as the Court permits.”
His trial is currently scheduled to begin on Jan. 9, 2023. The judge noted that he might reconsider the bond later with good cause.
Gunna and YSL founder Young Thug, née Jeffrey Williams, were both named in a grand jury indictment earlier this month. Young Thug’s bond hearing has been delayed due to a “conflict of interest” issue. It has been scheduled for June 2, according to Fox 5 Atlanta.
Fulton County, Georgia, prosecutors said that Kitchens is “not just an associate” of the group, saying that he was a “documented gang member” who was “one of the bosses” and was in a “command position” in the group who “direct their troops into combat,” per local reporting. They also detailed Gunna’s four past arrests.
Both Gunna and Young Thug had headlining show dates scheduled this summer, which were canceled.
YSL is also known as Young Slime Life, and Fulton County prosecutors allege that Kitchens and Williams, along with 27 other associates, “conspired to associate and with others for the common purposes of illegally obtaining money and property through a pattern of racketeering activity and conducting and participating in the enterprise through a pattern of racketeering activity.”
The indictment details more than 180 acts that support just the first of the 56 separate charges handed down to the various members of the YSL. The detailed charges include murder, aggravated assault, firearms violations, theft, drug possession, participating in street gang activity, armed robbery, and carjacking between 2012 and 2020.
Federal RICO laws have been used to break up unlawful organizations such as the mafia. YSL is being charged by Fulton County, Georgia, whose district attorney Fani Willis said earlier this month, “I said just a week or two ago, it does not matter what your notoriety is or what your fame is if you come to Fulton County, Georgia and you commit crimes — and certainly, if those crimes are in furtherance of a street gang — then you will become a target and focus of this district attorney's office, and we will prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law.”
She alleges that the group was responsible for up to 75% of the violent crime in the county.
Supporters of the rappers have argued that their lyrics should not be used as part of their prosecution. “Using song lyrics to indict n****s is lame af and a joke,” Metro Boomin said earlier this month. “These [are] the same lyrics that have made billions for these corporations over the past decade.”