Like most Soundcloud rappers, up-and-coming Treasure Coast hip-hop artist YNW Melly has a bunch of face tattoos. Curiously, the 19-year-old Melly had an artist ink the word "Sakchaser" on his forehead, just above his left eye. The tattoo honored a fallen friend: A member of Melly's rap crew, YNW Sakchaser, was shot dead in October 2018.
Now, however, police claim YNW Melly, born Jamell Maurice Demons, was the one who pulled the trigger.
Miramar Police reported last night that Demons and another member of the YNW crew — Cortlen Henry, AKA YNW Bortlen — were arrested and charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the killings of Anthony Williams and Christopher Thomas Jr. — known as YNW Juvy and YNW Sakchaser — on October 26, 2018. A police media release said Henry (YNW Bortlen) drove a getaway car. Melly, the cops said, killed his friends.
Melly turned himself
"To all my fans and supporters no I did not get locked up in Washington, but I am turning myself in today," he wrote. "I want you guys to know I love you and appreciate every single one of y’all, a couple months ago I lost my two brothers by violence and now the system
Melly moved to Broward County after his career began taking off. Broward, which birthed similarly problematic stars XXXTentación and Kodak Black, is arguably the epicenter of America's SoundCloud-rap movement right now.
Melly spent most of his young life struggling with legal issues. Born in tiny Gifford, Florida, he started uploading songs to SoundCloud at age 15 and was jailed on gun charges at age 16 for a shooting in which he was allegedly involved. He began releasing singles from jail, including one named "Melly the Menace" and another called "Slang That Iron." One of his songs, "4 Real" has amassed more than 7.2 million views.
But, as is the case with many SoundCloud rappers, Melly's star soared as he boasted about his legal struggles and violent tendencies. In a video one of his followers posted this morning, he said he once "brought a knife to school... done some terrorist-type shit. I sliced my neck. I sliced her neck. Then they sent me to the crazy home."
This past June, Fort Myers cops stopped him for holding
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Miami New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Miami's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
An album, I Am You, was released this past August. It included the single "Murder on My Mind."
In yesterday's arrest, cops said Demons and Henry cooperated to kill Williams, age 21, and Thomas,19, then tried to make it look like the pair was killed in a drive-by shooting. Someone then put the two victims in a Jeep Compass and dropped them just before 5 a.m. outside Memorial Hospital Miramar.
Predictably, the arrest came just as Melly was seemingly about to hit the big-time: Last month, he released a single, "Mixed Personalities," that featured Kanye West.