Merlyn Wood Explores Addiction and Identity Crises in “ONE OF US” Video
The Texas-Raised Rapper of Ghanaian Heritage Confronts His Demons Head On As He Explores Digital Depths in a New Video
Notorious for his animated flows and confrontational flexes, Merlyn Wood is ready to reveal more about the man behind the mic. Baring his soul in a haunting new video single, Merlyn explores issues close to his heart in “ONE OF US.” Produced by Lido, an acclaimed producer who has worked with Chance The Rapper, Ariana Grande, and more, “ONE OF US” combines ethereal choirs, gently-plucked harps, and liberal bursts of distortion to create an insular and introspective sonic world for Merlyn to discuss his former struggles with drug addiction. Over the course of three verses, Merlyn takes listeners into the frenzied mind of an addict, chronicling the desperate need for a fix, followed by detachment from friends and family, and culminating in Merlyn’s realization that he needed to quit to save his own life. “ONE OF US” is a both harrowing confession and a stern warning, providing a more serious context for Merlyn’s playful wordplay: “Ever since I was six/I was seen as the token black kid/Couldn’t show any flaws/A mark on our reputation/I was fighting the demons/That lived in my own reflection.”
Directed by Sean Russo and featuring a cameo from the actress Diamond White, the video for “ONE OF US” dramatizes Merlyn’s conflict with a powerful metaphor about his loss of control. The first two-thirds of the video take place in a blue-tinted digital realm, with Merlyn as an avatar with characteristics altered and closely monitored by an unseen entity. In the video’s final third, Merlyn attempts to awaken from his haze, the video adopting a more naturalistic color palette as a disoriented Merlyn confronts his masked demons in the flesh. Stay tuned for the end of the video, when a twist ending reveals the culprit behind the blue screen who has been at the controls the whole time.
A member of BROCKHAMPTON from 2012 until its final performance at this year’s Coachella, Merlyn Wood made his mark as the most outgoing and eccentric member of the groundbreaking band. Born in Ghana and raised in Houston, the artist credits both places as major influences on his vibrant and lively vocal style. Though he occasionally released music outside of the framework of BROCKHAMPTON, Merlyn spent the early part of 2022 laying the groundwork for his foray into solo stardom, sharing his CONNIE-produced single “S.Y.K.” in February to praise from NPR, HYPEBEAST, and more. In May, Merlyn struck again with “GREEN LIGHT,” also produced by CONNIE, showing off his playful side in a video praised by The FADER, Clash, NME, and many more.
Beyond music, the artist plans to continue expand his universe of King Arthur-inspired ventures with A Really Round Table (ARRT), which aims to bring different communities together through unique goods, human-connection events, and philanthropy–a portion of all revenue will go toward solving hunger in Ghana.
With multiple solo singles under his belt and many more to come, there’s no stopping Merlyn’s rise. Stay tuned for much more from the 26-year-old as he continues to forge his own path through the music scene and the world at large.
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