Nappy Roots member kidnapped at gunpoint at Atlanta brewery, shot during escape

Credit: Ben Hendren for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Ben Hendren for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Atlantucky Brewing opened this year in Castleberry Hill by members of hip-hop group Nappy Roots

Rapper Scales, the co-owner of Atlantucky Brewing in downtown Atlanta, was forced into a car at gunpoint and shot Wednesday night when he tried to break free from his attackers.

Melvin Adams, who opened the Castleberry Hill taproom earlier this year with a fellow member of Southern hip-hop group Nappy Roots, was ambushed by two men outside the business on Northside Drive and driven to his home in Hapeville, according to Atlanta police.

“Once he had an opportunity, he tried to make a run for it,” night commander Capt. Christian Hunt told reporters from the scene. “What we learned is the suspects grabbed him and they began to tussle, and that’s when he got shot.”

Credit: Ben Hendren for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Ben Hendren for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

According to Hunt, the 45-year-old business owner was shot in the leg and ran to a neighbor’s home in Hapeville for help. Skinny, brewery co-owner and fellow Nappy Roots member, said Thursday afternoon Scales was recovering at Grady Memorial Hospital and anxious to get back to work.

“Our spirits are high here at Atlantucky, and we’re hoping for a speedy recovery for our best friend and brother, Scales,” Skinny, whose legal name is William Hughes, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “He’s good. He hates that this has happened, but he has high hopes.”

The Grammy-nominated artist said the brewery would remain closed Thursday out of respect for Scales, their head brewer.

Scales and a 42-year-old patron were approached by two men while they were walking to the parking deck about 11 p.m., one hour after the brewery had closed for the night. They were headed to another bar when the men demanded cash from Atlantucky’s safe, Skinny said.

The patron was shot as he tried to flee, police said, but the hip-hop artist was forced into a vehicle when it became clear he had nothing to give.

ExploreBeer Town: Hip-hop stars Nappy Roots have their own Atlanta brewery

His business partner said the brewery does not keep cash on site. Nothing was stolen from the business, and it does not appear Scales was specifically targeted, according to Skinny and the initial police investigation.

While Skinny said he and Scales pay close attention to safety and security in their neighborhood, he “never thought in a million years” crime would hit this close to home.

“We’re trying to provide an opportunity here to the community,” he said. “We don’t bring negative energy with our music or through our business ... It doesn’t deter us from our mission.”

Credit: Ben Hendren for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Ben Hendren for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Hapeville police later located an abandoned white Mercedes-Benz SUV that was believed to be involved in the kidnapping, Channel 2 Action News reported. Hapeville and Atlanta police were working together to investigate.

The incident was the first of its kind to occur at the brewery since it opened in February, the Nappy Roots and Atlantucky Brewing teams said in the statement. They plan to add more security moving forward.

Skinny said he is hopeful the brewery will reopen this week, but he’s not sure if Scales will make it to the Nappy Roots show scheduled for Saturday in Rapid City, South Dakota. Thankfully, he said, they are a four-man group and have learned to lean on each other in times of trouble.

“We’ve had harder situations than this in the music business,” he said. Even Atlantucky, which was founded when COVID-19 forced the group to take a 90-day break from touring, could be considered a silver lining born from a bad situation.

“If COVID didn’t stop us and we opened up during COVID, one little altercation is definitely not going to stop us,” Skinny said.

The two suspects have not been identified Thursday. According to initial police reports, they got away with about $30 and a few personal items.