“My year’s finna be crazy,” YNW Melly predicted during his interview with Billboard last week (Feb. 5). The comment, tied to what was slated to be a very busy 2019 for the up-and-coming rapper, proved darkly prophetic a week later. On Wednesday (Feb. 13), the Miramar Police Department confirmed that they had arrested the 19-year-old (born Jamell Demons) and charged him with two counts of first-degree murder. Broward County jail records show he was checked into the system around 7 p.m. that night.
Police believe Melly was the triggerman in the Oct. 26 murders of Anthony “Sak” Williams and Christopher “Juvy” Thomas Jr, both of whom were “best friends” of Melly’s and part of his YNW (Young N—a World) crew. Law enforcement alleges that the “Mixed Personalities” rapper and Cortlen Henry — previously arrested in connection with the double murder — attempted to stage the killings as a drive-by shooting.
The Florida native has since been denied bond, releasing a statement on his Instagram prior to surrendering to authorities. “I am turning myself in today 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 want to find justice,” he wrote. “Unfortunately, a lot of rumors and lies are being said but no worries god is with me.”
YNW Melly Arrested, Faces Double First-Degree Murder Charges of ‘Best Friends’
Billboard caught up with the “Murder on My Mind” artist following the release of his We All Shine album for an interview before his arrest. Melly had grand plans for 2019, which included multiple tours, finishing a joint project with Juice WRLD, and working with Kanye West during what would be his first visit to Hawaii.
When asked about suffering through the losses of Sak and Juvy, Melly stated, “That was crazy. They were my brothers — my day one brothers,” but refused to speak on details of the incident any further. Later into the chat, the rapper did say that he gave all of his cars to Sak’s mom when he moved from Florida to Atlanta.
Check out the rest of our interview with YNW Melly, where he touches on his childhood influences, being in-and-out of jail as recently as January, linking up with Yeezy, leaving Florida for Atlanta, music plans and more.
Who are some of the artists that inspired you as a child?
Michael Jackson, Chris Brown, and Lil Wayne. That was when I was growing up as a kid. I was the smallest in the family, but always in trouble. I was so bad to the point it was funny. I basically had a cheat code, at five years-old I made a picture just like the I Am You cover as a baby. The whole background was painted and shit. I just knew I was going to be a star, so I’m just gonna be bad. I didn’t even want to be a rapper, I wanted to sing. I couldn’t sing at first, it took me a year to learn. I taught myself by listening to Chris Brown and Michael Jackson.
In school, I’d never play with anybody. I’d walk around the edges of the gate singing. I had my first girlfriend then. I was weird, I used to like the ghetto girls with the greasy edges. It was something about those things. I liked when their hair smelled like grease. She left me for my sister. Not like that, I was a kid just being jealous [and] she wanted to hang out with her more than me. Growing up, I was poor. I was living with my grandma and aunt, we were all living in the same house. They always took care of me though.
When did you start taking music more seriously?
After I got out of jail the first time. I went in at 15 and got out at 17.
That was for allegedly shooting a gun off by your school?
Yeah, I always had guns back then.
So you knew you were about to blow up when you were in jail?
All the tough people kept telling me that. Even the big n—-s were messing with me and I’m the smallest person on the compound. It’s a rough environment in there. How did I get respect from everybody? I’m like, “Damn, I’m special.” When I went to jail, I lost faith for a little bit. I didn’t know what I wanted to be. I made “Murder on My Mind.” I didn’t even like that song at first. I said, “That song is ass.”