Young Thug's Lawyer Says Rapper’s Name Stands for 'Truly Humbled Under God' During YSL RICO Trial

The second day of trial included an opening statement from Young Thug's lawyer about his client's difficult upbringing and his admiration for Lil Wayne and 2Pac.

Video via 11Alive

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Video via 11Alive

Young Thug's lawyer pointed to what he says is the faith-focused meaning of his client's stage name during the second day of the YSL RICO trial in Georgia.

During an opening statement on Tuesday, attorney Brian Steel walked jurors through the difficult upbringing faced by Young Thug, born Jeffery Williams. Per Steel, his client was born into “a society that was filled with depression, despair, hopelessness, and helplessness.”

Thug, whose lyrics are also being used in the case despite widespread criticism of the practice, faced hardships early in his life, including limited food and harassment from local police targeting his family and other individuals in his community. These experiences, Steel said, led to his client developing “two deep-embedded beliefs” about the criminal justice system, including that it was inherently “corrupt” due to alleged known liars being used in cases.

"What really solidified Jeffrey’s distrust of the police happened three days before his nine-year-old birthday," Steel pointed out, referencing the shooting of his older brother. As Steel is seen explaining in the 11Alive-captured footage above, police made a belated response to the scene after a 911 call was made, at which point they handcuffed Thug’s mother.

“They put a sheet over [his brother’s] face, and he was dead to the police even though his chest was going up and down and was still breathing,” Steel said.

From there, Steel, who on Monday filed a motion for a mistrial, detailed the extensive impact both Lil Wayne and 2Pac had on his client when he was beginning to develop into an artist in his own right. He “idolized” both artists, Steel said, while using what he learned from their careers to start one of his own. When it came to choosing a name, Thug was inspired by the 2Pac-featuring Smooth song “P.Y.T. (Playa Young Thugs),” itself inspired by the late Michael Jackson’s “P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing).”

Thug, of course, ultimately dropped the “Playa” portion of the title. He also had his own meaning for Thug, which Steel said is an acronym for an aspirational idea his client was propelled by early in his career.

"T.H.U.G. meant and means to Jeffery something very personal," Steel said on Tuesday. "It was his pact that if he could ever make it as a musical artist and help his family, himself, and as many others out of this endless cycle of hopelessness, he would be truly humbled under God. That's what T.H.U.G. means."

As fans will note, Steel's remarks are in line with those of Young Thug's sister from December of last year.

Following Steel’s opening statement, fans were quick to resurface a tweet shared by Thug in 2011. It reads, “S W A G = Someone Who Admires God.”

The YSL RICO trial is expected to last nearly a year. For coverage of the trial's first day, see here.

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