The latest episode of Complex and Spotify’s Infamous: The Story of YNW Melly podcast is out now, with special attention given to an exclusive statement from one of the Just a Matter of Slime artist’s lawyers regarding a short video that was played in court back in 2019.
The video in question, as touched on in this November 2020 report from Complex’s Shawn Setaro, first appeared as part of the lead prosecutor’s argument against the bond release of co-defendant YNW Bortlen. As you’ll recall, both Melly and Bortlen were arrested in February 2019 in connection with the murders of Christopher “YNW Juvy” Thomas Jr. and Anthony “YNW Sakchaser” Williams.
In the video, which was made on Melly’s phone a month after the murders, Melly is—in the words of the lead prosecutor—saying that he has “no regrets” for “the shit” that he did. Here’s the full quote as it was presented in court:
“There’s no regrets for the shit that I did for that n***a to die. Both of them never say when.”
Speaking on the video in 2019, prosecutor Kristine Bradley characterized the comments as a confession.
“And so he says, ‘And there’s no regrets for the shit that I did,’ including the derogatory [word] that I refuse to use for African-Americans,” Bradley said at the time. “And he then takes the pen and puts it to his head in the shape of a gun, like pulling the trigger, throws up a Blood gang sign, and then he says both of them never say when. So the interesting part of this video is it was one month to the day after the shootings occurred on October 26th.”
But in a statement given exclusively to Infamous: The Story of YNW Melly, Raven Liberty—one of Melly’s lawyers—refers to the characterization of those comments as a confession as an example of “cultural ignorance, a lack of investigative rigor, or purposeful deception.”
Liberty links the quote in the video to Kevin Gates’ 2013 Stranger Than Fiction cut “4:30 AM,” which does indeed include the following line at the end of Gates’ second verse:
“No regrets for the shit I did; that also mean for the n***as I killed”
The lyric is followed by a repeat of the hook, which goes, in part:
“4:30 a.m., never say when”
Read the exclusive statement from Raven Liberty in full below. And to hear the whole story, as well as previous episodes of the Infamous podcast, click here.
"Both in and out of court, Broward County prosecutors have frequently referred to a video taken on an iPhone as a ‘confession’ by Jamell Demons, the artist known as YNW Melly. It’s clear prosecutors believe this is a key piece of evidence in their case.
In reality, this so-called ‘confession’ video features Melly doing what many music fans do: repeating the lyrics of a favorite song by one of his favorite artists, the song ‘4:30 AM’ by Kevin Gates. Thousands of similar videos are uploaded daily to platforms like TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram.
Whether due to cultural ignorance, a lack of investigative rigor, or purposeful deception, it appears police and prosecutors have centered their prosecution of extremely serious charges on an embarrassing, avoidable mistake.
Violent imagery in music is not new. For the prosecution to use this video in a criminal proceeding is as credible as using a video of someone singing Johnny Cash’s ‘Folsom Prison Blues’ (‘I shot a man in Reno/just to watch him die’) or Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ (‘Mama, I killed a man/put a gun against his head/pulled my trigger, now he’s dead’) in a prosecution. The reliance on this legal gimmick—in effect, putting a specific type of music on trial—highlights the weakness of their case and the general lack of evidence. Moreover, the racial aspects of this type of misleading, selective prosecution are painfully obvious.
In closing, it is worth highlighting that despite playing this so-called ‘confession’ video in court and citing it in public court documents, the prosecution has repeatedly failed to share a copy of the video in the discovery process as required under law."