Virgil Abloh and serpentwithfeet discuss their new single
Watch the surreal Black folklore-inspired video for “Delicate Limbs” for all the love and reassurance you need right now.
To say that Virgil Abloh -- Artistic Director of Louis Vuitton menswear and founder of Off-White -- is a big fan of music would be something of an understatement. The creative giant has long flexed his muscles as a DJ and producer and art director for the likes of Kid Cudi, A$AP Rocky, Lil Uzi Vert and more. Kanye and Jay-Z’s Grammy-nominated Watch The Throne artwork? He dreamt that up. Lil Uzi Vert’s “XO Tour Llif3” video (with almost half a billion views)? He directed it. And now -- having launched the well-named Off-White International Rap Video Production Studio -- Virgil is officially releasing his own music: a collaboration with massive talent serpentwithfeet entitled “Delicate Limbs”.
Following a recent rework of Michael Kiwanuka’s “Solid Ground”, today’s release arrives like a welcome warm embrace. “I am such a fan of songs that say ‘Baby, you can never overwhelm me. I gotchu’,” featured artist serpentwithfeet told us of the track. “‘Delicate Limbs’ is my way of echoing that.” Virgil’s production is a sparse, otherworldly landscape that builds beautifully across the three-and-a-half-minute track as serpentwithfeet’s stirring vocals narrate the ultimate bedtime story.
The project launches with an escapist music video directed by Grammy-nominated Kordae Jatafa Henry, which tells the Black folklore-inspired story of a man connecting with nature in the most surreal way. The song’s vocalist stars alongside dancer Jamal DeAndre, who plays his love interest, the one being reassured in the lyrics.
We had a quick chat with Virgil and serpentwithfeet about “Delicate Limbs”, their first impressions of each other and the movies they wish they could’ve scored.
What does "Delicate Limbs" mean to you?
S: I am such a fan of songs that say “Baby, you can never overwhelm me. I gotchu.” And “Delicate Limbs” is my way of echoing that. I’m telling my man, “Look. I may not be a gym rat, but I can bench press them feelings.”
The video is seriously cinematic. How much creative involvement did you have in it?
S: Thank you so much. The director, Kordae Jatafa Henry came up with the treatment for the video. He and I talked a lot about Black folklore, so we intended to create something that felt like storytime. I also must thank Virgil for giving me so much creative freedom. I contacted Kordae because he does such imaginative work, and I knew he’d be a good fit, and I asked Jessica Willis to do the styling. It’s so important to me that I cast Black men in my videos, so Jamal DeAndre (who is an incredible dancer) played the role of my love interest in this.
Talking of cinema, which movie do you wish you could've created the score for?
V: Life. This movie we actually live in…
S: Brother to Brother or Tongues Untied — both were released when I was very young. But I would love to someday collaborate with a director on a movie about gay Black men.
serpentwithfeet once told i-D that his appearance is "all performance for me… I want people to see the way that I feel on the inside." Virgil, I wondered whether you relate to that, whether through fashion or the music you make?
V: Yeaaa -- the exact same sentiment applies to me. After all, it’s the best use of a life, to share what makes us individuals.
serpentwithfeet, on your 2020 song "A Comma", you told yourself, "Life's gotta get easier/ Can't carry a heavy heart into another year". A big goal… did you succeed?
S: I think I have succeeded. Every day I remind myself not to mimic the energy in the room. That helps a bunch.