Chance The Rapper and Jeremih’s 2016 holiday mixtape Merry Christmas Lil’ Mama is an odd bit of internet ephemera. It’s a fan favorite, yet fans can only stream it sporadically, as the two uploaded the project and its 2017 follow-up to SoundCloud originally but not to more mainstream services like Apple Music, Spotify, and Tidal. While Jeremih is currently recovering from a bad case of COVID-19, Chance decided to spread a little holiday cheer by releasing the video for one of the project’s songs, “Are U Live,” after holding onto it since 2017.
The video was directed by Cole Bennett (no relation to Chance or his brother Taylor) of Lyrical Lemonade at the start of his rise as one of hip-hop’s most sought-after video shooters, while the track itself was produced by ChaseTheMoney, a SoundCloud rapper go-to who has since produced for Dreamville and J. Cole on Revenge Of The Dreamers III and JID’s DiCaprio 2. Like plenty of Cole Bennett’s previous works, the video blends a low-fi aesthetic with a simple concept, as well a cheeky sense of humor with on-screen captions pointing out a failed “successful dap” and more. He even appears in the video, although you’ll have to have a sharp eye to catch his cameo.
The song isn’t what you’d call a traditional Christmas song, with its call-and-response, sparse beat, and the artists’ rap athletics. But the video displays their festive mood, with Santa caps and fairy lights aplenty decorating their red cup turn up.
Watch “Are U Live” above and listen to Merry Christmas Lil’ Mama below.