Here’s something no one saw coming: Vampire Weekend lead singer Ezra Koenig and Queens rapper Despot have remixed a Makonnen song from earlier this song. The release is the last in Red Bull’s 20 Before 15 series, in which Red Bull has premiered new exclusive songs from artists like D’Angelo and Earl Sweatshirt.
“Down For So Long” starts off with one of Makonnen’s most moving verses: “I lost my friends in ’07, every night I pray to go they made it to heaven,” he croons—a touching revelation from one of the year’s biggest breakout artists.
Ezra Koenig’s verses are less poignant autobiography more widescreen pop culture parody, as he grapples with the indefinable zeitgeist of the moment—“Summer 2014, Shmoney dancing with some goth teens,” he raps. His verse’s climactic moment occurs when he tackles one of the summer's thorniest moments, the massive celebrity nude leak that was so extensive it sparked an FBI investigation. “Motherf—kers leaking nudes,” he cries, voice straining for the high notes—“why they gotta be so rude?" (A call out to Magic!'s hit song "Rude).
Then he takes us on a whirlwind world tour, from the Hamptons—where Mary Kate-Ashley inscrutably calls his “Ray-Bans off-brand”—to France, where he “shakes Sarkozy’s hand.” He strikes a strange balance between SNL-esque parody, globe-trotting indie pop, and hip-hop. Despot finishes off the remix with a searing verse that addresses everything from police brutality to Makonnen's hit song "Tuesday." Stream the song above.