YNW Melly trial: A look at the rapper's rise to fame and his biggest collaborations
As the state of Florida is wrapping up its case against rapper YNW Melly, we look at his rise to fame and his biggest collaborations
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US rapper YNW Melly is on trial for a double homicide. He has been charged with the 2018 killing of two fellow rappers - YNW Sakchaser (born Anthony D'Andre Williams) and YNW Juvy (born Christopher Thomas Jr) - although Melly has pleaded 'not guilty.'
It has been alleged that Melly - whose real name is Jamell Maurice Demons - staged a murder scene to make it appear as if the two men had died as a result of a drive-by shooting.
Melly's legal team state his 'not-guilty' plea stems from the fact that the two murdered men were his friends and Melly's lack of motive to kill them.
While he isn't the first high-profile rapper to stand accused of violent crimes, YNW Melly is thought to be the first who could face the death penalty if he is found guilty.
As his trial wraps up, we take a look back at his rise to fame and his most famous collaborations with other musicians.
YNW Melly's rise to fame
YNW Melly was born in Giffords Florida to a 14-year-old single mother. He is a member of the YNW rap collective but he has also publicly associated himself with the Bloods gang.
His rise to fame - similar to many other rappers his age - began by releasing songs onto music streaming platform Soundcloud.
It has been stated that he first began writing and releasing music while in prison as he was jailed for the first time in 2015 and the age of only 16 years old. He was found guilty of firing shots at three people near a high school.
He was then arrested again the following year for violating his probation and being in possession of marijuana and firearms.
Melly released his biggest hit in June 2018 - 'Murder on My Mind' - which has now garnered more than 500 million views on YouTube.
Contrary to the perceptions of many, this song was actually written while Melly was incarcerated almost two years prior to the killings he currently stands trial of.
Who has YNW Melly worked with?
It marked the first time Melly had collaborated with one of hip-hop's most established artists.
The track was featured on Melly's album "We All Shine" - released in 2019 - and the song gained widespread attention for its unique blend of Melly's melodic style and Kanye West's distinct sound.
Another rapper who is currently facing trial on RICO charges (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act), Young Thug, has also collaborated with YNW Melly. The pair teamed up on the track "Caprisun Fun" released in 2018.
The collaboration was a well-timed one on YNW Melly's part and further expanded his reach within the music industry. Lil Uzi Vert
YNW Melly and 'XO Tour Llif3' rapper Lil Uzi Vert joined forces on the track "Pull Up" in 2018.
The song showcases their individual rap styles, with Melly's melodic flow blending well with Lil Uzi Vert's energetic delivery.
YNW Melly collaborated with late rapper Juice WRLD on the remix of Melly's hit song "Suicidal." The remix was released in 2020, shortly after Juice WRLD's passing.
The collaboration brought together two artists known for their emotionally charged lyrics and melodic rap styles.