A little over two months ago, Frank Ocean used the (to date) final episode of his Blonded Beats 1 show to premiere two versions of a bangerific posse cut “RAF,” which featured A$AP Rocky, Lil Uzi Vert, Quavo, and (on ad-libs only) Playboi Carti. Despite being the only capital-S singer present, Ocean was the unquestioned MVP of both versions of the track, proving as he had earlier on Earl Sweatshirt’s “Sunday” that he’s no slouch on the mic when attempting to go bar-for-bar with capital-R rappers.
Today we’ve got a video for “RAF,” but unfortunately, Frank’s nowhere to be found-- unlike earlier this summer, he’s actually been playing at the festivals that booked him, so maybe hoping for him to fulfill two prior engagements at once is a lot to ask. Lil Uzi is also absent, which means this shortened version of the song is the Rocky, Quavo, and Carti show.
Befitting the song’s title, which references the Raf Simons high-end fashion brand, the video plays as a stylized fashion show, with the rappers/models (as well as some other guys who are presumably just models) strutting like they’re on a catwalk in front of a white backdrop. Bodies are doubled, tripled, and frozen, creating a disorienting-but-minimal effect that matches the stark character of many a couture look. Fashion and new wave aficionados will also note that Simons’ recent parka featuring the album artwork from New Order’s Power, Corruption, and Lies makes an appearance around 1:52.
Rap video as fashion show? Fashion show as rap song? All of this as a Raf Simons advertisement? Those are the questions the “RAF” video leaves lingering. Whatever the case, it’s looking like this song is destined for Rocky’s next project, and hopefully when an official audio version arrives, Uzi and (more importantly) Frank are on there.