Rapper Silento Arrested and Charged in Murder of His Cousin [Updated]

Silento attends the 2016 BET Awards at the Microsoft Theater on June 26, 2016.
Silento attends the 2016 BET Awards at the Microsoft Theater on June 26, 2016.
Photo: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Atlanta rapper Silento (born Ricky Lamar Hawk), best known for his hit song “Watch Me (Whip / Nae Nae),” was arrested and charged with murder on Monday in DeKalb County, Ga., in connection with the shooting death of his 34-year-old cousin Frederick Rooks, according to NBC San Diego.


Rooks died on Jan. 21 following the shooting per a police statement, which didn’t provide further details on the death or the arrest.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution further reports:

Hawk was booked into the DeKalb jail on one count of murder, police spokeswoman Michaela Vincent said in a statement. He was being held without bond late Monday, jail records showed.

Police responded to a shots fired call Jan. 21 around 3:30 a.m. in the Panthersville area, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution previously reported. They found Rooks dead at the scene with multiple gunshot wounds, according to DeKalb police Lt. Rod Bryant.

Investigators said they believed Rooks knew the residents at one of the houses on Deep Shoals Circle, where his body was found.

Eight bullet casings were collected at the scene, according to an incident report and security camera video was obtained showing at least one of the fired gunshots as well as several cars fleeing the scene. Though investigators initially had no information of a suspect, a thorough investigation resulted in Silento being identified. Vincent confirmed detectives are still looking for a motive behind the shooting.

The 23-year-old rapper’s music video for “Watch Me” (and the accompanying dance) became a viral sensation in 2015 and has racked in nearly 1.8 billion views on YouTube. In recent months, Silento has been arrested on multiple occasions, including for domestic violence, gun charges and speeding. Additionally, he has been involved in local charitable initiatives, including participating in an anti-vaping campaign and encouraging DeKalb students to take the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) test.


The Root has reached out to representatives for Silento for comment and we are awaiting a response.

Update: 2/2/2021, 10:48 a.m. ET: We have been informed that the representatives on file do not currently work with Silento; however, we’ve come across his publicist’s statement recently posted on Instagram.


“Please send my client some positive vibrations,” PR Manager Chanel Hudson wrote on IG on Monday. “Over the past several years, Ricky has been suffering immensely from a series of mental health illnesses. We will continue in his efforts of treatment, but we ask in the meantime the public uplift him and his family in immediate prayer and positive energy!!”

Staff Writer, Entertainment at The Root. Sugar, spice & everything rice. Equipped with the uncanny ability to make a Disney reference and a double entendre in the same sentence.



I hate that we live in a world where this guy’s video for that garbage-ass song has exponentially more views than every Outkast video combined (NOTE: outrage is speculative, I’m guessing this is true but do not intend to research it until I’m stoned after work and want to watch a bunch of Outkast videos).