YNW Melly

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About YNW Melly

When YNW Melly’s “Murder on My Mind” came out in 2017, the culture did a collective double take. Like, did he really just say that? The grief-stricken family, the blood-soaked shirt, the absence of apology or remorse—even by rap standards, the material was rough, and yet Melly delivered it with the lightness and ethereality of a lullaby. That he later ended up arrested on murder charges gave the song a bleak second life: Not many people end up making platinum records, but even fewer go platinum from jail. Raised in Gifford, Florida, near Vero Beach, Melly (born Jamell Demons in 1999) started posting tracks online when he was in his mid-teens. Within a few years, he’d made two gold mixtapes, I Am You and We All Shine, followed by the album Melly vs. Melvin in 2019. Mixing the tender, confessional delivery of emo rap with the violence of gangsta, his best tracks—“Murder on My Mind,” “Suicidal,” “Virtual”—split an eerie difference between sweet and menacing that made him stand out. His legal problems certainly haven’t helped his career. But they haven’t stopped his fans from listening, either.

United States of America
May 1, 1999
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