Social media continues to pave the way for mixed musical genres and aspiring new artists. Take “Wild Ones,” the collaboration between 19-year-old Jessie Murph and the 38-year-old Jelly Roll.
Murph is a Tennessee-born, Alabama-raised multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter who channels parts of her fast-lane past and personal experiences into her music.
She started out on YouTube, where she currently has over 500,000 subscribers, and then moved to posting her music and videos to Tik Tok where she’s collected more than 200 million views. She also boasts more than 1 million followers on Instagram.
Her musical style is a mixture of trap, rap, country and hip-hop–much like Jelly Roll. (His name isn’t really Jelly Roll, of course. It’s Jason DeFord, but his fans know him by the former.)
Jelly Roll is a Nashville native who, like Murph, uses his music as a platform to talk about his bouts of drug addiction as well as his time spent in prison during his younger years.
And he has quite the platform. He’s already taken home Country Music Awards for his song, “Son of a Sinner” and has close to 2 million followers on Instagram.
“Wild Ones,” finds Jessie Murph and Jelly Roll praising the fast life that they love.
The only redeeming note here, if you could call it that, is that Jelly Roll makes it clear that he will protect his wife if anyone ever tries to harm her.
Murph talks about the kind of man she’s into, one that carries a gun (“got a .45 on him”), loves being reckless (“and he pushing ‘bout 102”, referring to the speed his car’s going), smokes (“always smoking something”), drinks (I got a thing for/hard liquor on ice”) and consistently displays an “I don’t care” sort of attitude (“middle finger to the sky”).
This “dangerous” lifestyle entices Murph as she prefers “the wild ones.”
Jelly Roll feels the same. His preference is for “things that are really crazy,” like his wife, Bunny, who he says is like his “Harley Quinn.” He chalks up this behavior to being “raised in darkness.” Still, he says he has “no shame” about his decisions or lifestyle and is in love “with the heartless.”
The video for this track focuses on Jelly Roll and Jessie dancing and moving around. The entire video is purposefully blurry and flashes to scenes of the two drinking, getting out of a cop car, performing on stage and flipping off the camera.
Murph and Jelly Roll aren’t the first to romanticize a wild, reckless lifestyle, and they won’t be the last.
Still, there’s something about a young woman and older man singing this song together that doesn’t sit well with me, mostly because this young woman doesn’t seem to have many positive role models, at least not in those with whom she makes music.
And the same can be said of Jelly Roll, a man who still glorifies the behaviors that are often used to describe the life of a reckless teenager.
Unfortunately, there’s no truth in this song, or this lifestyle, as both artists want to glorify their choices, regardless of the consequences that inevitably follow.
Kristin Smith joined the Plugged In team in 2017. Formerly a Spanish and English teacher, Kristin loves reading literature and eating authentic Mexican tacos. She and her husband, Eddy, love raising their children Judah and Selah. Kristin also has a deep affection for coffee, music, her dog (Cali) and cat (Aslan).