With the release of her first two EP’s 2019’s On My Way to the Listening Party and last year’s Drug Music EP and a handful of standalone singles, the fairly mysterious yet rising Canadian artist Magi Merlin (pronounced MADGE-eye) has exploded onto the national scene: She has received praise from CRACK Magazine. Along with that she has opened for Lido Pimienta and played at Osheaga Festival alongside ODIE, Jessie Reyez and others.
Earlier this year, the rising Canadian artist released the Funkywhat-produced “Free Grillz,” a track that featured Merlin’s mix of fiery, self-assured bars and sultry crooned hook gliding over icy, trap hi-hats, skittering snares, glistening synth arpeggios and a tweeter and woofer rattling bass line. “Free Grillz” found the Canadian artist hoping to aspire to at least some of the tropes of hip-hop fame while reflecting on a series of bitterly harsh and inescapable, daily realities, like having oblivious people carelessly mispronounce your name, misogyny, kicking clingy and stupid men out of your life and so on with a mix of humor and world dominating swagger.
Merlin’s third EP Gone Girl is slated for a May 27, 2022 release through Bonsound/AWAL. The EP’s material may arguably be the Canadian artist’s most personal and audacious effort to date: Merlin grew up in Saint Lazare, a suburb of Montreal, created by Nixon types in 70s. A Place of white folks by white folks. Much like in the States, the suburbs are viewed as the epitome of all that’s good and “normal.” Unless of course, you’re Black and Queer — and that perceived normalcy is challenged.
The EP, which continues Merlin’s ongoing collaboration with Funkywhat draws from 90s house, drum ‘n’ bass, Motown and acid flecked hip-hop to create a sound that evokes smoky, after hours clubs — but with rumbling bass lines and thunderous 808s. Thematically, the EP sees the rising Canadian artist touching upon generational angst, fake friends, casual racism and more.
The rising Canadian artist’s latest single “Pissed Black Girl” is a sleek and hyper modern pop song that features Merlin’s assured vocal delivery gliding over icy synth arpeggios, skittering trap beats and a sinuous bass line. Interestingly, “Pissed Black Girl” is rooted in a familiar pent up frustration with fake white progressives and phony liberals but instead of the cliched trope of angry Black woman, it’s a dance floor friendly banger that tells those fakes to go fuck themselves and sit down, while the rest of us get down.
“I wrote this song summer 2020,” Merlin says. “I was made to really look at my identity as a Black woman and what that identity means to the people I surround myself with. I didn’t realize a lot of the people I had around me at the time that identified as progressive, leftist and ‘allies’ were not as supportive as they made themselves out to be. Talking with them just resulted in arguments instead of compassion and understanding. This made me very angry and the only thing I was able to do to vent my frustrations and arrive at some form of catharsis was by singing about it.
“The title of the track references a story an ex-friend recounted to me as well as what I and many other black women who speak their minds are reduced to: an ‘angry black woman.’ This ex-friend told me about a time they went to a predominantly white party in the suburbs and one of the party-goers, while staring out onto the front lawn of the house, said: “wow, there’s a N***er on the lawn” – one of many atrocious acts that go unchecked in white suburbia and various other white spaces. If there is anything I’ve learned from my experiences with ignorant and bigoted people, it is how unapologetic I need to be about my existence. I’m a girl; I am pissed and I’m Black. What about it?”
The accompanying video features the rising Canadian artist being unapologetically herself — but at one point dancing in a circle of flames that reads “Pissed Black Girl.”