Jamell Demons, better known by his stage name YNW Melly, is currently awaiting a new trial in a double murder case. The rapper is accused of shooting and killing fellow rappers, Christopher “YNW Juvy” Thomas and Anthony “YNW Sakchaser” Williams two years ago.

The first trial was declared a mistrial by the judge on July 22 after the jury failed to deliver a unanimous verdict. Leading up to a second trial, the proceedings have been riddled with accusations from both sides. According to AP News, the prosecution accused the rapper of witness tampering. More recently, a judge denied a defense motion to have the case dismissed. The defense alleged that the prosecution had withheld vital information from the defense during the trial.

As the rapper prepares for his next trial, here is a recap of where YNW Melly is now.

YNW Melly’s Journey From Rap Star to Incarceration

Born on May 1, 1999, in Gifford, Florida, YNW Melly gained popularity for his unique rap style of telling captivating stories of street life, love and personal struggles. Like many aspiring artists in the 2010s, Melly utilized SoundCloud and various social media platforms to share his music. By uploading songs and sharing them with fans, he was able to reach a global audience.

Melly’s collaborations with other popular artists also helped boost his profile as a rapper. Working with artists like Kanye West on the song “Mixed Personalities” brought him recognition and expanded his fan base in the industry.

YNW Melly’s career began to take off in 2017 with the release of tracks like “Murder on My Mind” and “Virtual (Blue Balenciagas),” which garnered millions of views on YouTube and SoundCloud. And though Melly has garnered worldwide success for his music, his rising fame was overshadowed by legal troubles, resulting in his early life being marked by adversity and challenges. Despite facing difficult circumstances, he channeled his experiences into his music while crafting songs that resonate with his fans who have undergone similar struggles.

What Happened to YNW Melly?

In 2019, YNW Melly was arrested and charged with two counts of first-degree murder for allegedly being involved in the deaths of his friends, YNW Sakchaser and YNW Juvy. Melly, now 24, allegedly shot two of his friends from inside a car driven by Cortlen Henry (a.k.a. YNW Bortlen). Prosecutors in the case argued that the two then exited and shot through the car to make it look like a drive-by shooting.

The case drew significant media attention and sparked debates within the music industry and among his fans. Such things as the legitimacy of both the justice system and of Melly’s criminal involvement were questioned.

Where Is He Now?

YNW Melly was incarcerated at the Broward County Jail in Florida in 2019 where he remains while awaiting a second trial in October. Melly’s first trial was declared a mistrial on July 22 after three days of deadlock from the jury.

Melly’s defense has focused on the rapper’s friendship with the victims, along with the fact that a murder weapon was never recovered. As Melly awaits a new trial, his future in the music industry remains uncertain, though his music has certainly left a mark on the hip-hop landscape and serves as a cautionary tale about the complex interplay between artistry and the criminal justice system.