VIDEO: NCCU artist reflects on loss and being an LGBT rapper


Imagine losing your best friend. Now, imagine losing your parents’ support after transitioning from female to male because you didn’t want to hide who you were anymore. N.C. Central University junior Arryelle Vine, better known by his rap name “AMET Ricky,” has gone through tough moments like this in his life. He turned to music to survive troubling times.

As he puts it, music is how he kept himself “sane” during times in foster care. A situation that removed him from an abusive household, he described it as being in jail for 12 hours a day with no windows or doors, just his thoughts.

Now on his path to make it the music industry as an LGBT rapper, Vines has been professionally rapping for two years with two albums under his belt.

His debut album “805” dropped June 24, 2015. On his latest 15-track album “Hiatus: The Untold Story of Hesakahi McCoy” released March 30, 2016, Vines gets personal. Listeners hear stories about the women he fell in love with, substance abuse, and being neglected by loved ones.

“Relapse” recalls one of his lowest points in his life, telling the story involving a suicide attempt to her mom.

“I speak about how she wouldn’t accept my depression, grieving, she wouldn’t accept me being gay, she wouldn’t accept my transition,” Vines said. “At the time I used to be addicted to pills, it was bad, and when I would attempt suicide that’s what I would take.”

His second track, “Foreveryoung,” opens up with a voiceover from his late best friend freshman Hesakahi McCoy.

Vines gets summer nostalgia as he recalls carefree and innocent days of being a teenager enjoying life with his family and friends.
“Can we rewind back to the happy family living, ain’t seen my big brother in a couple Thanksgivings. Cause he was locked up for a nickel so the dimes filled my time. Heavens heard me in the corner crying, whispering,” Vines raps in “Foreveryoung.”

“Hiatus: The Untold Story of Hesakahi McCoy” was also dedicated to McCoy, who was found dead on Sept. 10, 2015 in his dorm room at New Residential Hall II.

McCoy, 18, was a freshman from Columbia, S.C. at NCCU studying criminal justice. He was a member of NCCU’s Men’s Achievement Center, which made McCoy an active student on campus.
Durham Police Department and NCCU Campus Police led an investigation regarding his death but no further reports came out after it was ruled as a suicide.

Since his death, there was speculation surrounding the cause of his death on social media, according to WNCN. At the time, people who knew him took to social media to debunk any notions that his death was a suicide.

McCoy’s longtime girlfriend, Jazzmyn Sittig said in a Facebook post that she was “forever grateful” to have had him in her life.

“Hesakahi was my brother, my best friend, my partner in crime, he’s who made AMET Ricky AMET Ricky honestly,” Vines said. “He’s who pushed me to be so outspoken, to be so open, and so vulnerable.”

To purchase or to listen to AMET Ricky’s music, visit iTunes.

Autavius Smith is a Mass Communication senior from Charlotte. He plans to continue his work in multimedia production with an emphasis on an "ears to ground" approach.

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