Rap Trap: Hip-Hop on Trial: YSL’s Fruitful Fight

Young Stoners Life is leaving their monumental mark in Hip-Hop. In doing so, the ongoing RICO case against Young Thug and Gunna of YSL has been turned into a HULU documentary. Rap Trap: Hip-Hop on Trial, an hour-long production from ABC News Studios, will focus on the growing criminal case against Thugger, Gunna, and their Atlanta-based collective. While also delving deeper into the issues surrounding the use of rap lyrics as evidence in criminal trials. In fact, the criminal case against Young Thug and Gunna, two of the biggest names in hip hop, reignited the conversation around the use of lyrics in the courtroom. As a result, it sparked a movement to protect art and the artists’ artistry. As well as the touchy topic of separating the art from the artist. 

The Premiere of Rap Trap: Hip-Hop on Trial

The film premiered on February 23rd courtesy of Hulu. Which focuses on the trials of Young Thug and Gunna as part of a larger indictment targeting their YSL crew. More specifically, the trailer suggests that the new documentary will place one of Fulton County, Georgia District Attorney Fanni T. Willis’ claims — within the storied history of rap on trial. The concerned claim is that song lyrics and music videos created by the two Atlanta rappers over the course of years constitute overt acts in furtherance of a conspiracy to violate the state’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. 

Rap music is judged unlike any other genre. Just like Black people are judged unlike any other people…” Killer Mike says in the trailer for the documentary.

There’s No Limit, Just Rap Trap

Additionally, interviews with 300 Entertainment CEO Kevin Liles, Young Thug’s ex-girlfriend Jerrika Karlae, and other hip-hop heavyweights and artists with knowledge of the music business are included in the documentary. Furthermore, Rap Trap: Hip-Hop on Trial” will also go into detail about former No Limit rapper McKinley “Mac” Phipps Jr.

He spent 21 years in prison for a crime he claims he did not commit. His lyrics were used in the prosecution’s case. Which convicted him of manslaughter in 2001. For the death of a 19-year-old man a year earlier in a Louisiana nightclub. He served two decades of a 30-year sentence before the state of Louisiana granted him clemency in 2021. 

Phipps and his family are also featured in the documentary. In addition to a number of rappers and industry figures who will comment on the YSL case. As well as the legal system’s criminalization of Black art in general. Leading the launch, commentary from Fat Joe, Killer Mike, Will.i.am, Jerrika Karlae, 300 Entertainment CEO Kevin Liles, civil rights historian Michael Eric Dyson, and Rap on Trial co-author Erik Nielson, among others, are teased in the trailer as well. 

Press play on the trailer here at KAZI Magazine! Lastly, go stream the new documentary on Hulu and let us know your thoughts. 

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