From Kanye West collaborator to life behind bars, Florida rapper YNW Melly's growing career in the music industry was cut short when he was arrested in 2019.
Despite being behind bars, his hit single "Murder on My Mind," went gold and is expected to go platinum. So, what happened to YNW Melly and when he is going to be free?
YNW Melly is facing the death penalty for first-degree murder.
Police arrested Melly on Feb. 13, 2019. He was charged on two counts of first-degree murder for killing two of his friends, YNW Juvy and YNW Sakchaser. He potentially faces the death penalty.
Another friend YNW Bortlen, allegedly staged the incident to look like a drive-by shooting, where Bortlen and Melly were lucky to be alive.
In December 2018, a documentary about Melly and his friends was released on YouTube. The text at the end of the documentary reads, "Four days after the completion of this film, YNW Melly and his friends were the targets of a drive-by shooting in Miami, Fla. YNW Juvy and YNW Sakchaser were killed."
Melly moved from Florida to Atlanta and recorded "Mixed Personalities" with Kanye, who insisted on being on the song.
It wasn't until over a year later that Melly was charged with the murders of his two friends. The court charged Bortlen for staging the shooting as a drive-by. Melly reportedly shot both Juvy and Sakchaser in the car, and before police arrived, they allegedly shot the car on the outside to make it more believable.
Melly pleaded not guilty to the charges.
This is not YNW Melly's first arrest.
YNW Melly's first real run-in with law enforcement came in 2015 in his Florida hometown. Melly, who was 16, was charged with three counts of aggravated assault and firing a gun in front of three other students near a high school.
Getting locked up was the inspiration for the single, "Murder on My Mind."
On Melly's 18th birthday in 2017, he posted on Facebook, "I apologize to all my fans ... I'll be locked up in level 6 program for six months I was sentenced on my 18th birthday May 1, 2017, due to negative music. Just know I did it for y'all I'll be back shortly." Almost two months later, he posted, "Turning myself in today."
In a Billboard interview, he said that during this time, he was on probation and in-and-out of jail "at least six or seven times then." For what? As Melly said in the interview, for the little "things" — to avoid expletives — and also the possession of firearms, marijuana charges, and other drugs.
When will YNW Melly be free? Case update:
Melly is currently incarcerated in Florida and was diagnosed with COVID-19. However, unlike other prisoners who were released due to COVID threats, he was denied release.
According to a tweet from his friend DJ Academiks, Melly told him he would be coming home in 2020 — with a new album.
Still, there is no official release date. All we know is that he continues to post on Instagram that he's going home soon. YNW Bortlen was released in May on bond.
Melly's most recent court date remains March 12, 2020. Though it appears he had one scheduled on Aug. 13, 2020, court documents indicate that this hearing did not come to pass. Though Florida is seeking the death penalty, Melly has not been sentenced yet, but neither has he been given any release date. At this time, it remains unknown when his next trial will be.