Silentó, Rapper Behind ‘Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae),’ Charged With Murder


Rapper Silentó, whose 2015 hit “Watch Me (Whip / Nae Nae)” went viral, was arrested and charged with his cousin’s death outside of Atlanta last month.

Silentó, real name Ricky Hawk, was arrested Monday, DeKalb County, Georgia police said in a statement. They said they identified Mr Hawk, 23, as a suspect in the January 21 fatal shooting by Frederick Rooks, 34, in Decatur, Georgia, about seven miles northeast of Atlanta.

According to a police report, officers responded to a report of gunfire in a residential neighborhood in the Panthersville neighborhood of Decatur in the early hours of January 21. Officers arrived to find the victim, later identified as Mr. Rooks, on the street. He was shot in the face and leg and was bleeding profusely, the report said.

When rescue workers arrived, they pronounced him dead at the scene, the report said.

Video footage from doorbell cameras in several houses in the area captured at least one shot and reportedly showed cars fleeing the scene.

Mr. Hawk has been charged with murder. Police said in their statement that they were still working to find a motive for the shooting.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether Mr. Hawk had a lawyer. His booking agent didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.

The video for “Watch Me (Whip / Nae Nae)” has been viewed nearly 1.8 billion times on YouTube. The song became a sensation, which was largely based on two dance movements: the “whip”, which took a broad stance and pressed one arm firmly in front of the body, and the “nae nae”, which was shaken from side to side one hand in the air.

Celebrities like Justin Bieber, Stephen Curry and Matt Damon joined in the dance craze, and even Hillary Clinton tried it on the Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2015.

“Watch Me” reached number 3 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. Mr. Hawk’s debut album, Fresh Outta High School, was released in 2018 and has since released a number of singles.

Mr Hawk previously had run-ins with the police. In October 2020, he was arrested in DeKalb County for reckless driving and exceeding the speed limit, among other things. The Atlanta Journal constitution reported that police caught him on Interstate 85 driving over 140 mph. In August 2020, he was arrested for domestic violence and assault in Los Angeles and Orange County, California, according to KABC-TV.



Robert Dunfee