Ryan is the owner and visionary behind the 9Mag shop. Growing up on the streets of Chicago, Ryan learned the true essence of survival. Once he got into tattooing, his sister helped fund his blossoming career. Shortly afterwards, his sister, Nova, and his niece were tragically murdered. Now, 9Mag stands as a tribute to his sister and a symbol of his determination to not let anyone get in the way.
The 9Mag family is everything to Ryan, but when their loyalty is put to the test, Ryan needs to make a choice between being a friend and being a boss. Failure is not an option, and when friends become competition, business must go on.
Ryan's world revolves around his son, Mason. Ryan strives to give Mason the life he never had and will do anything to protect his family.
Kat is 9Mag's one and only female tattoo artist. While she attended college for mathematics, she ultimately dropped out in pursuit of her dream to become a professional tattoo artist instead. Through social media, she eventually connected with Ryan and went on to land a place at 9Mag.
Kat's role in the shop once resembled that of a "little sister," and she always had the guys of the shop wrapped around her finger. The guys are still very protective of her, despite her strong will and candor..
Because of her diverse background—Korean, white, and black—Kat struggled with identity as a child. However, as an adult she is confident and flaunts her good looks, proudly. Kat credits her parent's love and support as a source of her strength..
Once Kat recognized her true calling, she quickly rose to become one of the most sought-after female artists in Chicago. Specializing in black & gray, she is taking advantage of the success she's found and seizing the opportunity to build her own brand as an artist and increase her celebrity clientele. Will her success allow her the independence she's seeking, or will it tear the 9Mag family apart instead?.
Don is Phor's brother, as well as his assistant at 9Mag. Don's fun and flirty ways tend to make him the life of the party, but unfortunately also land him into trouble. After many ups and downs, Don is finally engaged to his fiancé, Ashley. Their pride and joy is their son, DJ.
Just when his relationship seems to be on track, another piece of his past always seems to catch up with him. This season, Don is forced to face his demons and expose them to Ashley, but can their relationship withstand another hit?
Van is back baby! This 32-year-old badass tattoo artist may be down, but he's not out. Van has been away from 9Mag now for 4 months due to a gun possession charge that landed him in boot camp. But as the old adage goes, "what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger." Van is walking out of boot camp a new man, with a new look and a new perspective on life. Upon his return, he vows to spend as much time as he can with his 14-year-old daughter Briyanah, and to get back into his tattoo chair as soon as possible. Van knows that his fresh start shouldn't be taken for granted and he's ready to step it up, and be a better man for himself, his daughter, and his 9Mag family.
Phor is taking Chicago by storm. Phor has a hit single "Do It," climbing the charts, which leads to him juggling between studio time, his tattoo artistry, and of course, the ladies. His fling with Kat remains a thing of the past, though the two still remain friends. Phor grew up on the South Side of Chicago and has coined the phrase NMOL as his motto. "No More Ordinary Life," is Phor's daily reminder that the streets are in his past, and he will stop at nothing to make sure he doesn't go back to them. Phor refuses to give up tattooing, but with continued musical growth, can he truly handle the balancing act between both of his passions?
Even though Charmaine is all about the hustle these days, she is still the quintessential southern belle with an edge. Initially, that edge, along with her razor sharp wit, put her at odds with the shop owner, Ryan. However, the tables have now turned and Charmaine has emerged as one Ryan's most trusted confidants when it comes to managing business. This new relationship with Ryan has led the crew at the shop to wonder if these changes are due to more than just "business."
In her time at 9Mag, Charmaine has repeatedly proven herself to be a woman who works hard and plays even harder. However, her playful habits have left her personal life in utter chaos; a chaos which will soon prove to be more than she can handle by herself.
Danielle is 9Mag's receptionist. Her parents taught her long ago that family is everything, which makes her devotion to 9Mag bulletproof. Danielle is Kat's best friend from college, and Charmaine's cousin. Despite the escalating tension between both of her BFFs, Danielle manages to at least try to keep the peace. After Danielle's near romance with Ryan, she has rekindled her relationship with Terrence, and things are moving fast. Danielle is the type of girl who isn't afraid to speak her mind, and who will do anything to protect her 9Mag family.
Ashley is Don's fiancée and the mother of his two-year-old son, DJ. She is a fierce Chicago native with a strong sense of family. After meeting Don at college in Missouri, their lives quickly took a turn when Ashley found out she was pregnant. Ashley and Don's relationship has had their ups and downs, and after forgiving Don for cheating on her with his fellow co-worker Charmaine, Ashley accepted Don's marriage proposal. Now, just when their relationship seems back on track, Don's past comes back to haunt him. But will Ashley be so forgiving this time?
Junior is the New Kid on the Block at 9Mag. As the youngest of 5 Mexican kids growing up in the rough streets of Chicago, Junior learned early on to develop a quick wit and hustler mentality. As Junior watched his brothers fall victim to gangs and violence of the city streets, he made a decision to follow the path of art. He began tattooing at age seventeen and even though he was met with skepticism and doubt, he never looked back. Junior firmly claims, "Art saved my life." Once Junior got a taste of the tattoo culture, he knew he was on the right path and quickly became one of the hottest tattoo artists in Chicago. With his incredible talent, charisma, chill attitude, and quick wisecracks, it is no wonder Junior is Ryan's new star pick to join the 9Mag team.
Cobra Kat is a new face at 9Mag and playing nice is not how she rolls. She's a feisty, talented tattoo artist from Houston Texas, and the saying is true-- everything is bigger in Texas including bravado. Cobra is determined to blow 9Mag out of the water with her huge portrait pieces, but upon walking into the established family shop, she realizes this won't be as easy as she thinks. With all eyes on her, Cobra feels the pressure as the new chick at 9Mag, but she is ready for the challenge, or so she thinks!
With her boyfriend Jerrod by her side, Cobra knows she has the talent, the support and the heart to make it in Chicago. She has never walked away from adversity and is a true fighter; a fact proven by her being 5 years cancer free. Cobra knows that life is short and in life, you have to fight for what you want! Nothing will stop her from being the best tattoo artist 9Mag has seen.
Young, stunningly beautiful and armed with a mind for business and an attitude to match, Nikki is the perfect match for artistic Phor. Last summer, Nikki proved to everyone she was the new woman in Phor’s life and she’s here to stay. While confident in her position as the object of Phor’s affection, recent events have caused Nikki’s jealousy to grow as her expectations of what she wants from him become clearer and clearer. Now that Nikki has moved her growing hair salon business into the same building as 9Mag, it makes one wonder if this was all in an attempt to keep an eye on her man and his new image as a Hip Hop heartthrob? Will Phor’s increasing status as a sex symbol shake Nikki’s faith in their developing relationship or will she take drastic action to cement herself as the emerging Hip Hop King’s true Queen?
Charmaine’s "better half,” Neek Bey is confident, secure, and has a secret formula in to handling Charmaine’s antics and the rest of the Black Ink Crew.
New to a tightknit group of friends and artists with huge personalities, Lily's going to need to find a way to fit in among the opinionated crew. Not only does her "take no sh*t" attitude get her by in this male dominated tattoo industry but her good looks are a threat to the other woman in the shop. At a young age, Lily lost her father to the Mexican cartel. Lily's loss has only given her more drive to become the best artist she could possibly be. Being the one who provides for her mother, Lily has no time to waste on drama. Lily is all about her art, with tattooing and painting being her mediums of choice. After growing up in Chicago, Lily traveled around the states trying to find her place in the world as an artist and she's recently moved back to Chicago in an effort to reconnect with her family. Now that she's back in Chicago and has linked up with Ryan Henry, she must prove her worth among the 9 Mag crew. Will the other artists accept her or will they just see her as Ryan bringing new faces into the circle?