On “Cold“, a throwback record that finds life on Raz Simone’s Solomon Samuel Simone EP, the Black Umbrella artist ends his second verse with a strikingly blunt observation regarding the lie and illusion that surrounds Santa Claus. The delivery of Simone’s words on “Cold” have stuck with me ever since first hearing them and, without fail, I find myself mentally reciting the bars whenever the subject of Santa is breached.
Of course, this time of year, Santa is mentioned in heavy rotation. So Simone’s words have been running through my head quite a bit lately.
Needless to say, it came as quite a surprise when Raz dropped off a new, Christmas-themed visual experience today. Despite not celebrating holidays, Simone found it within himself to tap into a little bit of the Christmas spirit that’s permeating society right now, albeit with his own, unique twist thrown into the mix.
“Santa Claus” is littered with Christmas references, both visually and sonically. Shot by Jacob Hill, the video itself is a G’d up version of The Grinch, featuring Simone and his two elf associates breaking into the home of Cindy Lou. It doesn’t take long for Raz – dressed as Santa – to claim his throne in Cindy’s home, even going so far as to end the video with the Whoville character, portrayed by Anna Isley, sitting contently in Santa’s lap. Throughout the video, we also see reoccurring imagery from “Clout”, bringing viewers back to Simone’s release from earlier this year in a powerful way.
While I’m no stranger to talking up the work Hill does visually, the shots he captures throughout “Santa Claus” are top-shelf. Each scene really adds a new layer of depth to Simone’s physical energy and lyrical content. And the views from above the houses illuminated by Christmas lights are breathtaking.
The aggressive and abrasive “Santa Claus” highlights Simone’s grind, using the video to remind viewers that the mobbing doesn’t stop just because we’re celebrating Christmas. With all the various business ventures on his plate, both on the books and off the books, there are no days off for Raz. This bit of knowledge amplifies the near mockery Simone is making of all things Christmas, turning classic jingles into hard hitting, trap-infused production and utilizing reworked holiday imagery to fit the story he’s telling.
Raz is really out here putting a new spin on Rudolph’s red nose and Mrs. Claus’ use of poles, while simultaneously flipping vintage Christmas carols into street anthems. It’s shockingly poetic and wildly expressive.
“Santa Claus” is a far cry from the recent releases from Simone, both of which centered on love. But this only works to once again showcase how diversely talented the Seattle-based artist is. He can drop a poetic, softly delivered spoken word one day and then liberate “Santa Claus” the next.
Production on Simone’s latest comes courtesy of Raz and Tarek Holmes.
Watch “Santa Claus” below.