Fiona Apple dropped a new video for “Shameika” off Fetch the Bolt Cutters, along with a remix of the track featuring the song’s real-life inspiration, Shameika Stepney.
Directed by Matthias Brown, Apple’s “Shameika” video is a continuous black and white animation focused on a pair of lips that run across the screen. It directs viewers to listen to Apple’s lyrics, namely the line “Shameika said I have potential.”
“I have no memory of anybody ever getting in the way of somebody else being shitty to me,” Apple told Pitchfork in a feature where the pair caught up. “From when I was a kid to when I was an adult, except for this one moment where this girl walking by saw something going on, and leaned down and said, ‘Hey, why do you care about them? You have potential.’ I got to carry that in my head my whole life. When there was nobody on my side, I was able to call up those words.”
As the release date for Apple’s new album neared, the singer-songwriter reached out to her elementary school classmate and thanked her for the encouragement years ago and told her about the song.
“It’s such a humbling thing,” Stepney said in an interview with Pitchfork. “You can’t believe that someone would honor you like that. And it’s not just ‘Someone wrote a song about you.’ It’s ‘Shameika said I had potential.’”
The two eventually reunited in a FaceTime call over the summer. After the emotional reunion, they talked about a potential remix of the track, which Stepney, with her producer Rhyte-Jus, then turned into a brand new track called “Shameika Said.”
Stepney, who currently lives in Virginia, has been a rapper for 30 years under the names Dollface and Chyna Doll. “Shameika Said” was released by Stepney today (Nov. 20). It includes some new lyrics from Stepney, along with newly recorded vocals from former schoolmate Apple.
“When we did the song, it was as though we had been together all of this time and talked every single day, like, This is my girl,” Stepney said.
Since their collab, the two still keep in touch. “We’re never gonna be apart again,” Stepney said. “We’re like connected spiritually.”
Check out the video for Apple’s LP version of the song below.