Rapper Gunna now in Georgia jail on racketeering charge
ATLANTA — Atlanta rapper Gunna, who was named Monday along with fellow rapper Young Thug in a sweeping gang indictment, is now behind bars in Fulton County.
The 28-year-old artist, whose legal name is Sergio Giavonni Kitchens, was booked into the county jail early Wednesday. He is charged with a single count of conspiracy to violate Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act in the 56-count indictment, which targets alleged members of the Young Slime Life gang and includes charges ranging from drug and gun possession to murder.
“As the district attorney of Fulton County, my No. 1 focus is targeting gangs,” Fani Willis told reporters at a news conference Tuesday. “And there’s a reason for that. They are committing, conservatively, 75 to 80% of all of the violent crime that we are seeing within our community.”
Kitchens was last arrested in metro Atlanta in 2017 during a Brookhaven traffic stop. He and Young Thug, whose legal name is Jeffery Lamar Williams, were taken into custody alongside a third man on charges of drug possession.
Williams was eventually indicted in DeKalb County on multiple felony drug charges, while Kitchens’ charges were considered misdemeanors. Kitchens pleaded guilty to a window tint violation in 2019, and prosecutors agreed to drop a charge of marijuana possession. He was sentenced to six months of probation.
Williams’ DeKalb charges are still pending, according to court records.
Prosecutors said Young Slime Life is a criminal street gang co-founded by Williams in the Cleveland Avenue area of Atlanta with ties to the national Bloods gang. YSL, or Young Stoner Life, is also the name of Young Thug’s record label. As Williams rose to stardom, so did the profile of YSL thanks to frequent mentions in his music, prosecutors said.
In Monday’s indictment, prosecutors laid out several instances they said furthered the YSL conspiracy. Kitchens’ involvement appears to be tied to the 2017 Brookhaven traffic stop. Also noted in the indictment is a 2018 traffic stop during which Williams, Kitchens and other associates of YSL in another car were pulled over for speeding.
One of the vehicles contained several weapons with high-capacity magazines, according to the indictment.
Like Williams, Kitchens is also accused of furthering the interests of YSL through his rap music, social media posts and music videos. Willis said Tuesday the First Amendment is “one of our most precious rights,” but she said free speech doesn’t protect someone from having their own words become evidence in a criminal proceeding.
Gunna was one of the first artists signed to the YSL Records label, which has been a growing presence in Atlanta. He was featured on Lil Baby’s 2018 hit “Drip Too Hard,” which peaked at No. 4 on Billboard’s Hot 100. He has also collaborated with artists such as Travis Scott, Machine Gun Kelly and fellow Atlanta rapper Future, as well as with Young Thug.
Earlier this year, Gunna’s “DS4Ever,” his third album, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard album chart.
Kitchens is expected to make a first appearance before a Fulton County judge Wednesday.
(Atlanta Journal-Constitution staff writer Shaddi Abusaid contributed to this report.)