Vivienne Westwood, OG punk provocateur, just released a rap song about the environment. Because, why the hell not? A “featured rapper” on “Be There x Intellectuals Unite,” a track from Mic Righteous’s upcoming album, Dreamland, the grande dame of British fashion recites a self-penned incantation about her pet topic: climate change. “Everybody’s talking but only our map gives the complete picture,” she intones as drums beat and ivories tinkle. A woman warbles plaintively in the background. “The ice is melting. Fracking releases tonnes of methane. Water is more precious than oil. Plastic kills the albatross.” It’s your classic diss track, one aimed not at a single individual but the world at large. “Intellectuals tell the truth,” Westwood continues. “You, give us the picture. You know the past, the present and the future. Speak with one voice. Culture not consumption.”
So why Westwood? “To be honest, when I thought of collaborations, Vivienne wasn’t the first rapper that came to mind!” Righteous, who met the designer at a climate-change march in November, told i-D. “She mentioned she written a rap/poem and I didn’t even need to hear it. I knew it would be perfect for this project.”
“The ice is melting. Fracking releases tonnes of methane. Water is more precious than oil. Plastic kills the albatross.”
Despite the unplanned nature of the project, Righteous said he wouldn’t change a thing about it. “It’s an incredibly moving and captivating piece, very atmospheric,” he said. “Hopefully it highlights the need to treat our planet with more respect. If we keep going the way we are, climate change will ensure the vast majority of our Earth is left uninhabitable for our children. Not for people born hundreds of years from now, but for people born today.”
Fun fact: Westwood delivered her verses in a single, flawless take.
“You’d be surprised, recording a verse might sound quick but believe me I have worked with some rappers that have taken days to finish 16 bars,” Righteous said. “Not Vivienne, though; in and out in one take, delivered it impeccably first time, the amount of emotion put into her words, you could feel it. It was incredibly impressive!”
Sounds like the sartorial legend’s got a backup career in hip-hop—you know, in case that whole fashion thing doesn’t work out.