Fiona Apple has teamed up with rapper Shameika for the new song “Shameika said,” which is based off of the song “Shameika” that appeared on Apple’s most recent album, Fetch the Bolt Cutters. Apple also released the music video for “Shameika,” directed by Matthias Brown.
Apple wrote the song “Shameika” about a third-grade memory of a girl named Shameika standing up for her when a group of girls was bullying her, according to Pitchfork. As the song lyrics note, Shameika told Apple she had “potential” and to not let the bullies get to her.
Apple said after the song was released that she didn’t even remember if Shameika was a real person or a figment of her imagination, but their third grade teacher heard the song and wrote a letter to Shameika Stepney telling her about it. Shameika later reached out to Apple and the pair reunited for the first time since childhood, according to Pitchfork.
The two women decided to collaborate on a new song, “Shameika Said,” which features Shameika rapping alongside vocals from Apple. Shameika has been rapping for more than 30 years and has been an MC in several rap groups, including the Harlem Hoodz, Angels With Dirty Faces and the E Brothers, according to Pitchfork. She’s collaborated with Jodeci’s DeVante Swing and rapper Kurupt, and was previously signed to a production deal with Bryce Wilson of R&B duo Groove Theory. She also rapped on two songs on Blackstreet’s final album, 2003’s Level II.
“Shameika Said” is an empowering track, encouraging women to know their worth with lyrics such as “Didn’t know you had potential / Back then now you know your place / Spiritual bath aura shining like amazing grace.” The line references Apple’s song, in which she sings “Shameika said I had potential,” which is also sampled as the chorus in the new song. Apple vocalizes in the background for much of the song, and she also sings the bridge, featuring lines such as “We keep dreaming about back then / But I didn’t know what happened / She stood up for me / I wish I could have done the same for her.”
In June, Apple said she’d donate two years worth of royalties from “Shameika” to the Harlem Children’s Zone as well as the royalties from her song “Heavy Balloon” to Seeding Sovereignty.
In October, Apple shared a cover of George and Ira Gershwin’s song “Bidin’ My Time,” signaling her support for Joe Biden. Earlier that month, she also performed tracks from Fetch The Bolt Cutters for the first time during a virtual event hosted by The New Yorker. The album was released April 17 and was her first studio album since 2012’s The Idler Wheel.
In June, Apple appeared on Bob Dylan’s latest album Rough And Rowdy Ways, his first new album with all original music in eight years. In May, it was announced that she wrote new music for the Apple TV show Central Park, created by Loren Bouchard, who created the show Bob’s Burgers.
Featured image: Raymond Flotat