Silento, 'Watch Me' Rapper, Arrested Over Cousin's Murder

Silento, the Atlanta rapper who scored a viral hit with his single "Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)," was arrested and charged with murder in the shooting death of his cousin, police said Monday. The 23-year-old, whose real name is Ricky Lamar Hawk, was booked on one count of murder, DeKalb police spokeswoman Michaela Vincent said, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Hawk's cousin, Frederick Rooks, 34, was found dead on the morning of Jan. 21.

Police responded to reports of shots fired in Panthersville, Georgia at around 3:30 a.m. on Jan. 21. Police found Rooks dead from multiple gunshot wounds, DeKalb police Lt. Rod Bryant previously told the Journal-Constitution. After the shooting, investigators said they thought Rooks knew a resident at a house near where his body was found.

"We're still doing a little bit more investigation. The people in the house know him, but he really doesn't live there, so we're trying to see what's going on," Bryant previously explained. However, after the investigation, police found Hawks was Rooks' cousin and the "person responsible for Rooks' murder," Vincent said Monday. Police used video from residents' security cameras, which showed cars speeding from the scene. Video also caught at least one gunshot, according to an incident report. Police found eight bullet casings at the scene. Investigators are still trying to find the motive for the shooting.

Hawk became an overnight star in 2015 when he released his first single, "Watch Me," which he recorded when he was 17. The song hit No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and he was invited to perform at the BET Awards with the Black-ish cast. The song even won Best Dance Performance at the Soul Train Awards. Hawk released two studio albums in 2018, but has been unable to recreate the success of "Watch Me."

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The rapper had several run-ins with the law in 2020. In August 2020, he was arrested twice in one week in California, where he faced domestic violence and gun charges. In October 2020, he was arrested in Georgia for driving over 140 mph on I-85. He told police he was being chased. "If there is like 10 cars following me, I can do 143 because I am not a regular person, and you could go look on your computer and it would tell you that," he allegedly told police, according to the incident report.