Who Is YNW Melly? New Details About The Rapper Who Was Arrested For Double Murder

Photo: Instagram
Who Is YNW Melly? New Details About The Rapper Who Was Arrested For Double Murder
It looked like a drive-by shooting at first but the October murders of two Florida rappers has taken a complicated turn. Anthony “YNW Sakchaser” Williams, 21, and Christopher “YNW Juvy” Thomas Jr., 19, were shot to death in South Florida on Oct. 26. At first, it seemed like a random crime but police are now charging two of the rappers’ collaborators with their murder.

YNW Melly — whose real name is Jamell Demons — and YNW Bortlen — whose real name is Cortlen Henry — were arrested and charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Williams and Thomas.

Who is YNW Melly and why did he murder two of his friends? Read on to learn more.

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1. He rapped about a violent lifestyle.

Jamell Maurice Demons was born in Florida. He started his music career at 15, uploading original songs to SoundCloud and gaining a following there.

He wrote about a violent community and crime, sex, and money — but his music wasn’t all talk. He was leading the violent lifestyle he wrote about. By the time he was 17, he was arrested on a weapons charge related to a shooting. He was found guilty and imprisoned.

 

@ynw.melly

A post shared by Ynw Melly (@melly.ynw) on Mar 4, 2018 at 8:07am PST

2. He wrote his first album behind bars.

He cut his first album while he was behind bars. Collect Call contained features from well-known artists, including Lil B and John Wicks.

Throughout 2018, he released videos for the singles "Virtual (Blue Balenciagas)," "Melly the Menace," and "Slang That Iron." Other singles include "4 Real," "Butter Pecan," and "Medium Fries.” The popular singles have racked up millions of views on YouTube.

 

@ynw.melly

A post shared by Ynw Melly (@melly.ynw) on Mar 4, 2018 at 8:07am PST

3. He made the Billboard Top 200.

In August of 2018, Melly dropped the album I Am You. The new project cracked the Billboard Top 200 at 192 in January of 2019. The album has hit over 3.9 million streams on Spotify.

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@ynw.melly

A post shared by Ynw Melly (@melly.ynw) on Mar 4, 2018 at 8:07am PST

4. He collaborated with Kanye.

By 2018, Melly was a big enough name to set up collaborations with top name artists such as Kanye West. West appeared on “Mixed Personalities,” a single and video from Melly’s 2019 mixed tape called We All Shine.

More than 17 million people have viewed it on YouTube and it should have been the launching point for a successful career for the young rapper. 

 

@ynw.melly

A post shared by Ynw Melly (@melly.ynw) on Mar 4, 2018 at 8:09am PST

5. This isn't his first arrest this year.

Despite his success in the music industry and plans to spend 2019 touring for his We All Shine album, Melly hasn’t been able to keep out of trouble with the law.

In 2018 and 2019, he was arrested twice on marijuana and weapons possession charges.

6. He acted shocked over the death of his friends.

On Oct. 26, 2018, Cortlen Henry, also known as YNW Bortlen, showed up at a Florida emergency room with the bodies of Anthony “YNW Sakchaser” Williams and Christopher “YNW Juvy” Thomas Jr. Both men had sustained multiple gunshot wounds, and Bortlen suggested that they had died in a drive-by shooting.

At the time, Melly feigned shock over their deaths and released a statement through his attorney.

“He’s sad, he’s upset, obviously. Those were his best friends.”

Melly also shared an Instagram story that had broken heart emojis and a message that read: "They Took My Brothers From Me Over Jealousy. I know y'all watching over me."

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7. Police didn't totally by the drive-by shooting story.

Police investigated the two men's deaths further and reportedly found forensic evidence that disproved the statement given to them by Melly and Bortlen. Police concluded that the two of them shot and killed their friends and then staged their deaths to look like a drive-by shooting.

8. He was just arrested. 

This week, Melly posted a story to Instagram with an interesting message.

"I want you guys to know I love you and appreciate every single one of y'all," he wrote. "[A] couple months ago I lost my two brothers by violence and now the system want to find justice.. unfortunately a lot of rumors and lies are being said but no worries god is with me and my brother.”

He ended with the hashtag “#freeus.” After that, he was taken into custody and charged with two counts of first-degree murder. He is being held without bond.

This story is still ongoing and police have not commented further. Representatives for Melly have not released a statement at this time.

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Rebekah Kuschmider has been writing about celebrities, pop culture, entertainment, and politics since 2010. Her work has been seen at Ravishly, Babble, Scary Mommy, The Mid, Redbook online, and The Broad Side. She is the creator of the blog Stay at Home Pundit and she is a cohost of the weekly podcast The More Perfect Union.