ATLANTA - Rapper Gunna has been catching flack since releasing his first music video after making a plea deal to avoid jail time in the YSL RICO trial.
The song called "Bread and Butter" seems to be his attempt at clearing the air, suggesting he didn't snitch on anyone involved in the case against members of what the DA has called the Young Slime Life gang. Instead, he opted for an Alford plea, or "best-interest plea," back on Dec. 7. It allowed Gunna, whose real name is Sergio Giovanni Kitchens, to maintain his innocence while acknowledging that it was in his best interest to plead guilty to a racketeering conspiracy charge.
"Never gave no statement or agreed to take no stand on ‘em," he rapped, alluding to a statement he and his attorneys released after the deal was made.
Atlanta rapper Gunna walks out of the Fulton County Jail after pleading guilty in a RICO case on Dec. 14, 2022. (FOX 5)
The statement, in part, read:
"While I have agreed to always be truthful, I want to make it perfectly clear that I have NOT made any statements, have NOT been interviewed, have NOT cooperated, have NOT agreed to testify or be a witness for or against any party in the case and have absolutely NO intention of being involved in the trial process in any way."
Still, some fans and many artists, including Lil Durk, Lil Baby and Meek Mill, have apparently shunned the rapper. One of the most vocal celebrities against him, Boosie Badazz, has consistently called him a ‘snitch’ and a ‘rat.’ Gunna admits in the new song that he lost many friends and a lot of money after taking the deal.
The song starts with montage of news reports covering the YSL RICO trial, including many voices from FOX 5 Atlanta.
Gunna talks about his broken friendships, how the case affected him mentally and emotionally, distrust he experienced with attorneys and his desire for people to know the truth.
The song was released on YouTube June 2, just days after he made his first public appearance since being released from jail. The Los Angeles Times reported him courtside at the Heat-Celtics game on May 30.
What is YSL?
Fulton County prosecutors say Young "Slime" Life is a violent criminal street gang that’s commonly known as YSL and is affiliated with the national Bloods gang. They said it was founded in 2012.
Defendants in the case claim that YSL is not a criminal entity, and not to be confused with Young "Stoner" Life Records, the music label rapper Young Thug, whose real name is Jeffrey Lamar Williams founded.
Gunna said in a statement he didn’t consider it a gang but rather "a group of people from metro Atlanta who had common interests and artistic aspirations." His focus was entertainment, he said, "rap artists who wrote and performed music that exaggerated and ‘glorified’ urban life in the Black community."
What is the RICO Act?
The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO, was developed to fight organized crime.
The U.S. Department of Justice has used RICO to take down multiple crime families and street gangs.
Violating RICO carries a maximum of 20 years and a fine that is "greater of $25,000 or three times the amount of pecuniary gain."
Under RICO, victims impacted can seek civil recourse without the defendant being able to hide behind bankruptcy to skirt judgment or restitution.
Why are some members of YSL on trial?
Prosecutors claim Young Slime Life is a violent street gang behind a series of heinous crimes including murders, shootings, and carjackings. They say the crimes were committed to raise money for the gang, enhance its reputation, and extend its influence and territory.
Initially, 28 people were charged with conspiracy to violate Georgia's Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) law, with numerous other charges also filed against many of the accused.
Gunna was one of the accused.
What are the latest updates in the YSL RICO Trial?
It's been a wild few months for everyone involved in the case.
- YSL RICO case: Young Thug's brother has probation revoked, sent back to prison
- YSL RICO trial: Fulton County sheriff's deputy arrested
- YSL RICO trial: Laptop of Christian Eppinger's attorney seized by deputies
- Young Thug reportedly taken to hospital because of illness, court canceled
- Defendant, attorney arrested during YSL trial jury selection
- Defense attorney in YSL accuses judge of ‘capping’ during hearing
- Young Thug RICO trial: Prosecutors say video appears to show 'drug deal' in courtroom
As the trial slowly drags on despite plenty of weird twists and turns, jury selection for the YSL trial is expected to continue next week.
The Associated Press contributed to this report