Working in the publicity field can be incredibly frustrating. You could have a solid track and artist, and still be told that what you have just isn’t good enough. Such was the case when I worked with Silento in 2017 for the promotion of his new album “Fresh Outta High School”. This album was meant to be his comeback, and yet the media wouldn’t give him the time of day. His original title of “Prince Silento” or “Mr. Billion Views” was so 2015. We struggled to get the Hype Magazine to write about him, with his biggest goal at the time of getting a placement in HipHop DX, with the outlet refusing to write about him or his new music. It took us calling their office to get them to publish an article on him. Now with his recent controversies, the outlet has published over seven articles on him and two within the last twenty-four hours as the outlet hangs on the every word of the DeKalb County police.
The kind of attention Silento is getting now would have been priceless to him back then, when he was trying to shed his one hit wonder and build a new way forward. Don’t get me wrong, Silento killed a man. Whatever punishment he gets, I am sure he deserves it for the grief he has caused his family for the shooting of his 34-year-old cousin, Frederick Rooks. Rooks was struck down outside a home in the Panthersville area last month after being shot several times with multiple cars caught on doorbell cameras fleeing the scene. Ricky Lamar Hawk, aka Silento, has been charged with one count of murder for the 3:30 a.m. shooting that occurred on January 21st. A DeKalb police spokeswoman Michaela Vincent stated in a press conference that “Investigators are still working to uncover the motive for the shooting.”
I agree with her sentiment. For the duration of the time I knew Silento, he seemed to be troubled and paranoid about the people surrounding him. Unfortunately some of those feelings proved to be true as he didn’t have the best group of people around him at the time. In my opinion, the people around him only seemed to be there for a hand out. And Ricky seemed to have noticed, which caused his behavior around them to appear to be tense. It was almost as if he could never relax.
Around June of 2020, out of the blue, I received a call from him. He sounded afraid and claimed he hadn’t seen his mother in a year and his girlfriend in months as she had been in hiding. When I pressed him for the reason of them hiding out, he claimed it was due to a dozen black SUVs following him every single time he left his home. It seemed like a cry for help, so I urged him to file a police report and to speak with a therapist to deal with the emotional stress being followed had on him. While I didn’t believe there truly were a dozen SUVs following him, I did note that what he was feeling seemed real. He wanted to pay me to hunt them down through the dark web, which didn’t make any sense. I felt worried for him and tried to reach out to him a number of times after that call. But never got a response.
Then, in August I saw Silento making headlines for domestic violence and gun charges in California. He was accused of walking into an unlocked stranger’s home in the Valley Village area of Los Angeles and swinging a hatchet at a couple inside before one of them disarmed him. A day prior to that arrest, he was held on domestic violence charges at a Santa Ana, Calif., home.I once again sent him messages urging him to get help, but never heard back.
In late October, he was arrested and booked into the DeKalb jail on charges that he was speeding at more than 140 mph on I-85. According to the police report, he told officers that he was speeding because people were following him. Hearing that sent chills down my spine as Silento had made that same claim to me back in June and prior to that once in May. The incident report quoted Silento as saying, “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.”
I think that quote will haunt me for a long time. I know this entire thing is out of my control, however Silento had been asking for help as early as 2016 when he was interviewed by “The Doctors” and said he had depression despite never being formally diagnosed. “I’ve been fighting demons my whole life. My whole life,” Silento said. “I was born with weed, coke, heroin, pills, all type of drugs in my system. I saw family members talking to walls. I watched family members fight. I watched family members try to kill each other. Nobody should have to watch that.”
I just hope that whatever happens with Ricky’s pending litigation that he is finally able to find help and peace. And that his family is able to find a way to honor the late Frederick Rooks. May he rest in peace and his memory be a blessing to all whose lives he touched.
If you feel you are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. It is a free, 24-hour hotline, at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Your call will be connected to the crisis center nearest to you. If you are in an emergency, call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.