How Did Young Thug Get His Name?

As the RICO trial against Young Thug continues, more details about not only Georgia’s case against him but also about the rapper himself have emerged. During his opening statement, Young Thug’s attorney, Brian Steel, explained both how Young Thug and his label got their names in an effort to undermine the state’s characterization of the rapper as leader of a criminal street gang.

With a stage name like Young Thug, you could almost say it’s no surprise that authorities would choose to make an example of Jeffery Williams. But according to Steel, the government has the origins of his name figured all wrong. Thanks to Atlanta-based culture reporter Jewel Wicker (who already figures to be to this high-profile case what Meghann “Thee Reporter” Cuniff was to the Tory Lanez trial), Steel said Thug’s nom de plume was inspired by another revered but controversial rap icon: Tupac Shakur.

Shakur’s 1995 feature appearance on Smooth’s “P.Y.T. (Playa Young Thugs)” inspired Williams to adopt Young Thug as his name, turning the “thug” part into a backronym meaning “truly humbled under God.” Likewise, YSL (short for Young Stoner Life) was “a nod to the tight-fitting designer pants Thug used to see women wear.”

This explanation has been used in the past. Last December, his sister Dora Williams tweeted the same breakdown of his name’s acronym. While the explanation drew some skepticism from the app’s users, it looks like his defense is sticking to that story, which paints a brighter picture of the rapper and probably won’t hurt in the eyes of the jury.