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Silento Once Swung a Hatchet at Strangers — inside the Young Rapper's Legal Troubles

Pedro Marrero
Feb 04, 2021
05:30 A.M.
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“Watch Me (Whip/ Nae Nae)” singer Silento, is facing his most serious legal charges after becoming a suspect in a gruesome incident just outside Atlanta, Georgia.


23-year-old rapper and singer Richard Lamar “Ricky” Hawk, known professionally as Silento, has been a feature in the hip hop scene for the last five years, but his career has been overshadowed by his unsound behavior and legal problems.

If in 2015, Silento reached the top of the charts with his breakout single “Watch Me (Whip/ Nae Nae),” which ended up spending 51 weeks on the Hot 100 songs chart, today, he is making news for very troubling reasons.

Rapper Silento performing in concert during 2019 Super Bowl in Atlanta, Georgia, in January 2019. | Image: Getty Images.

Rapper Silento performing in concert during 2019 Super Bowl in Atlanta, Georgia, in January 2019. | Image: Getty Images.


It is heartbreaking to watch the downfall of a talented artist, who managed to find fame at the young age of 17 with his debut single, due to the excesses that sometimes come with sudden fame.


Early in February 2021, Silento was infamously arrested and charged with the murder of his cousin, 34-year-old Frederick Roots, who was shot dead in DeKalb County, Georgia.

It remains unclear how the DeKalb County Police Department determined that Silento was a suspect of committing the crime, since the department refrained from making any additional comments about the case.


Roots was found by the authorities lying on a road in Panthersville, southeast of Atlanta after 3 a.m. on January 21, and he was pronounced dead at the scene, after neighbors called the police to report a shooting.

“On January 21, the DeKalb County Police Department investigated Rooks’ death after he was found shot on Deep Shoals Circle. Hawk is in the DeKalb County Jail charged with Murder,” read an announcement on the department’s Twitter.

Only months prior to this incident, in October 2020, Silento was arrested in Atlanta for driving above the speed limit, but that wasn’t his first issue with the law. Let’s take a look at the rapper’s history of runoffs with the authorities.



Silento’s first known incident with the law happened outside of the US territory, when the singer was held in United Arab Emirates after failing to perform two scheduled shows in Al Ain and Abu Dhabi in 2017.

Silento, then only 19 years old, was forbidden to leave the country until the case was settled, and he was forced to surrender his passport to the authorities until he paid a local promoter the equivalent of $81,500.

At the time of the dispute, Silento’s Middle East representative Jenna Kadhum denied the accusations and blamed the local promoter for not having fulfilled his part on the agreement with the rapper.



In August 2020, Silento’s first public incident with the police in the US took place in the Valley Village neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, and it involved Silento walking into a random home with a hatchet in his hand.

The rapper was reportedly taken into custody by the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department as he was looking for his girlfriend after a violent altercation, and he ended up charged with inflicting corporal injury on a spouse or cohabitant.

While it is not clear why he had been previously arrested in the country, it surfaced that Silento was still on bail when he committed the felonies, and the situation didn’t become worse because he was disarmed in time.



In October 2020, only two months after his arrest in Los Angeles, Silento was once again arrested, this time by the DeKalb County Police Department in Georgia, where he was pulled over at 3 a.m. for driving at 143 m.p.h.

After being stopped by an officer while driving his white BMW, Silento reportedly insisted that he was doing nothing wrong, and he argued both that he was avoiding being followed by fans and that he is not “a regular person.”

Silento was then held at the DeKalb County, where he was given citations for several charges before been released on bond later on October 25. The rapper’s representatives refused to comment on the incident.

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