Rising Miami Rapper N3ll Survived Prison and Personal Loss
Fans of the new generation of Dade County rappers, who came up during the booming internet age of Miami’s underground hip-hop scene, have watched artists like N3ll grow up and discover their own claims to fame. But while other Carol City rhymers, like Denzel Curry and Yung Simmie, have gained momentum and made waves overseas, N3ll took a detour with his career, derailed by a string of arrests.
The young rhyme-slinger, who cooked up The Screw Tape in 2015, had several recent run-ins with the police, resulting in gun charges and jail time. Over the past three years, the New Era Gang rapper has been to jail twice for weapons possession. His most recent case came in 2015, just four months after he was released from jail after serving time for another offense.
“I was going through a crazy period in my life,” N3ll says over the phone. “I had the Cadillac ATS and was living too fast. I was just wildin’ out and going with the wave by letting people influence me to do stupid stuff.”
N3ll didn’t let his time behind bars faze him. In fact, the lonely days he spent in jail were enough to turn his life around for the better. N3ll got to know the inmates around him and realized that most would never again breathe the fresh air outside of the jail walls. He became familiar with the stories of those who would never return home. Meanwhile, his immediate family, including his older brother Rell, who also raps, supported him every day he was away.
Now that he’s out, N3ll, which is short for Darnell, says he’s dedicated to staying out of trouble. When he was released last year, he knew he had to integrate everything he learned from his cellmates into his creative process in the studio. The result is his long-awaited debut LP, Year of the Youth.
READ MORE AT MIAMI NEW TIMES