Author Harper Simon’s multimedia project Meditations on Crime has shared an electric new single and video, Robbin’ Hoods. It features acclaimed rapper Quelle Chris, the iconic Jean Grae, and legendary producer Money Mark (Beastie Boys, Beck, Danger Mouse) that was co-written and produced by Simon. In step with the project’s focus on morality and its correlation (and lack thereof) with criminality, the track, sees Quelle Chris exploring the injustice of the American legal system and its enforcement over a grimy, bass heavy beat. “The Robin Hoods of modern times / Nobody giving me shit so I take mine / The Robin Hoods of modern cause / and ain’t nobody giving them shit so they take yours” spits Chris on the chorus, zeroing in on the circuits of violence that bleed from the harsh and unforgiving American justice system.
Simon shares, “Mark and I ended up building a track together with him programming the drum loop and providing keys while I played the bass and added a synth melody. Carla Azar overdubbed live drums. Then Quelle Chris and Jean came on and killed it, in my opinion. Since then, Jean’s moved on from her career as a rapper, so this ended up being one of her last features on a record, maybe. Very honored to have worked with all of them!”
Listen to Robbin’ Hoods or watch the video via YouTube below.
Alongside this single, the project has announced a special event at Zebulon on August 12th in connection with Printed Matter’s 2023 LA Art Book Fair at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA on August 13th. The event will feature performances of the project’s self-titled album from acclaimed musical luminaries such as Ian Svenonius, Julia Holter, Cole Alexander, Geneva Jacuzzi, and more, alongside a screening of a new experimental short film, also titled ‘Meditations on Crime,’ co-directed by Simon and project co-curator Jonah Freeman of the art team Freeman-Lowe. Tickets are available here.
The short film, which recently premiered at the LA MOCA, features excerpts from an essay by Nigerian novelist and poet Ben Okri as an armature for a kaleidoscopic cinematic collage of found and original footage narrated by acclaimed actress Katherine Waterston (Babylon, Logan Lucky, Alien: Covenant, Inherent Vice), which, while touching upon a broad spectrum of crime, finds its focus in the prison system and all its contradictions.
“Everyone is fascinated by crime,” says Harper Simon. “When you look at the history of song, romantic love songs may be the dominant mode of songwriting, but second would probably be songs involving crime.” Simon offers a new and expansive contribution to this legacy with Meditations on Crime, an ambitious multi-media project that includes an album he produced of musical collaborations with a sweeping range of contributors, including Julia Holter, Gang Gang Dance, King Khan, the Sun Ra Arkestra and a book he edited featuring essays by such notables as Miranda July, Hooman Majd, and Jerry Stahl, alongside artwork from giants like Cindy Sherman, Tracey Emin, Julian Schnabel, and Raymond Pettibon.
Listen to ‘Meditations on Crime’
The book will be available in three different versions: a softcover with 352 pages containing 339 artworks by 18 visual artists and 11 essays/interviews, a limited edition 13 in. x 13 in. clamshell in a custom clothbound box that includes both the book and a vinyl LP of the ‘Meditation on Crime’ album, and a limited number of signed clamshell editions signed by Harper Simon and Jonah Freeman. The book and vinyl will be available everywhere on October 3.
For more information and/or to pre-order a copy now, visit the Hat & Beard Press website here.