Who is Jeffery Williams, a.k.a. Young Thug?
Mr. Williams, 32, is one of modern Atlanta’s rap icons, having remade the genre in his image over the past decade. Combining psychedelic experimentalism in voice, melody, lyricism and fashion with a hardened street edge and a sneaky pop sensibility, Mr. Williams has earned three No. 1 albums on the Billboard chart and collaborated widely with musicians including Drake, Kanye West, Future and Travis Scott.
In 2018, as a featured artist, Young Thug reached No. 1 on the singles chart with the singer Camila Cabello’s “Havana.” The following year, he won a Grammy for song of the year as a writer of Childish Gambino’s “This Is America,” the first rap song to win that award.
The 10th of 1l children, Mr. Williams was raised in the Jonesboro South housing projects and along the desolate South Atlanta corridor Cleveland Avenue. He founded YSL in the area around late 2012, according to court documents, in association with two other men, both of whom have pleaded guilty in the case.
What exactly is Mr. Williams charged with?
The case centers on the Jan. 10, 2015, killing of Donovan Thomas Jr., known as Nut or Big Nut, in a drive-by shooting. Mr. Thomas, according to law enforcement, was a high-ranking member of another Bloods subset known as the Inglewood Family, or IF, as well as a behind-the-scenes connector in Atlanta rap music affiliated with the artists Rich Homie Quan and YFN Lucci.
Ms. Willis, the district attorney, said that Mr. Thomas’s killing led to a gang war that “created violence like Atlanta has never seen,” including more than 50 violent encounters, as YSL and its allies traded attacks with IF members and their affiliates in the crew known as YFN. (YFN Lucci, born Rayshawn Bennett, is also awaiting trial following a 2021 RICO indictment against YFN in Fulton County.)