An emerging Toronto rapper with ties to The Weeknd was apprehended by Toronto Police on 15 human trafficking charges.
UPDATE: On May 9, 2016, all charges against Derek Bissue were dropped. The Crown found it unlikely to secure a conviction due to lack of evidence.
This weekend, Derek Bissue—better known to rap fans as Derek Wise, a member of Toronto's downtown-based rap crew Get Home Safe (GHS) who is affiliated with The Weeknd's XO crew—was arrested on 15 charges connected to a human trafficking investigation. The 22-year-old Mississauga native was taken into custody after allegations were brought forward by a 21-year-old woman, who was working as an exotic dancer and says she was forced into the sex trade by Bissue.
Bissue rose to prominence in the Toronto music scene after he released a number of rap singles and videos that garnered tens of thousands of views on his YouTube and Soundcloud pages. He has been covered by North American music publications, including our music site Noisey. His video for "Kenzo" has amassed over 30,000 plays on YouTube and the Soundcloud release for his single "Lake" has been played over 40,000 times.
Bissue faces charges including: trafficking in persons, uttering threats of death and bodily harm, two counts of overcoming resistance by choking, robbery, weapons charges, and three counts of theft under $5,000.
Bissue attracted the attention of XO earlier this year, which led to him appearing in The Weeknd's music video for "King Of The Fall," which has been viewed more than six million times. Until this morning, Derek's Twitter bio mentioned that he was a part of both the XO and GHS collectives. That bio has since been changed to remove all mention of XO. When reached for this story, a representative from XO refused to comment.
In a 50-page report published in June, the Alliance Against Modern Slavery named Toronto the "most common destination" of human trafficking in Ontario. Bissue is currently in police custody and awaiting trial. A spokesperson from GHS said that a formal statement on Bissue's situation is forthcoming. We will update this story as it develops.
Update: We have just received the following statement from Derek Wise's manager, Quincy Nanatakyi:
"The investigation against Derek is both shocking and offensive. These accusations, which we take very seriously were brought to the police after Derek attempted to end an unhealthy relationship with a mentally unstable individual. Derek's character would not allow him to commit any of the allegations he is facing. Unfortunately, the mental health of his accuser is in question as well. During their relationship Derek was a victim of physical abuse, slanderous accusations, and was threatened that his career would be ruined by the same person who has now made these erroneous allegations. Having had to deal with these abuses before the investigation, Derek would never put anyone through the same pain he was forced to experience. Derek would like everyone to please understand that all slanderous accusations against him are completely untrue and he empathizes with ALL victims of any and every form of abuse. GHS also known as get home safe members and affiliates of Derek Bissue also known as Derek Wise do not promote any of the negative and horrendous claims brought against Derek. As a young man raised by a single mother who Derek found love and endless inspiration, he would never put himself into a situation that would cause harm to a woman. It hurts me to see my best friend and business partner in this situation. People change when they see someone close to them elevating their mindset and focusing on positive routes to success. I want all of his fans, friends and loved ones to send positive energy for this tiresome, somber, and ridiculous situation. Lastly, I want to state that due to the legal process I cannot disclose any more information at this time. Also please understand that there are two sides to every story."
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