Thug’s lawyer, Brian Steel, referenced the trend-spurring DS4Ever single during an opening statement on Tuesday. Specifically, he reminded jurors of the phrase's history and meaning (more on that here) in connection with the prosecution’s argument that Thug is seen in a mirror selfie holding up what they claim is a Bloods sign.
"There’s nothing wrong with holding up a Bloods sign, but that’s not a Bloods sign. … That is a P," Steel said. "Jeffery’s fingers are down. And what you’ll learn is that Jeffery just released with Sergio Kitchens, a performer known as Gunna, a song that is wildly popular around the globe. It’s called 'Pushin P' and it's positivity. It means any circumstance you’re in, if you think positively about something, you can make it through. You’re pushing positivity."
Steel was making a larger point about the prosecution’s handling of the case, which sees some of Thug’s art being used against him. Ahead of the trial, Kevin Liles and Julie Greenwald launched a petition aimed at limiting the use of lyrics in criminal cases, ultimately garnering more than 93,000 signatures.
“As you may know, currently in Georgia, multiple artists belonging to Young Stoner Life Records – including celebrated artists like Young Thug and Gunna – are facing more than 50 allegations, including RICO charges which claim the record label is a criminal gang,” the two said in a joint statement in June of last year. “The allegations heavily rely on the artists’ lyrics that prosecutors claim are ‘overt evidence of conspiracy.’"
Last December, Gunna was released after entering an Alford plea in the case.
“I have chosen to end my own RICO case with an Alford plea and end my personal ordeal by publicly acknowledging my association with YSL,” he said at the time. “An Alford plea in my case is the entry of a guilty plea to the one charge against me, which is in my best interest, while at the same time maintaining my innocence toward the same charge. I love and cherish my association with YSL music, and always will. I look at this as an opportunity to give back to my community and educate young men and women that 'gangs' and violence only lead to destruction.”
During a live performance in September that marked his first since his release, Gunna called for Young Thug's freedom.