The Emperor’s New Balenciaga: Chris Brown, Thugger, and Future Unite on “High End”

Evan Nabavian takes a look at the new video from Chris Brown, Young Thug, and Future.
By    January 18, 2018

Art by Eva Rinaldi

Evan Nabavian prefers The Virgin Suicides.

A Chris Brown song called “High End” featuring Future and Young Thug isn’t what you think. A dour undercurrent runs through their litany of designer labels and so the trio doesn’t quite channel the Cash Money Millionaires or Marie Antoinette. Nor are they sandinista satirists or pimps freestyling at the Fortune 500 Club. The extreme opulence herein bubbles and surges until it starts skipping planes of reality. Luxury signifiers start to resemble incantations—Balenciaga, Richard Mille, Maserati, Tesla, Diadora, Dubai, Ducati—and high fashion becomes a pagan mask.

The video, which forewarns nervous parishioners that it doesn’t praise the occult, turns Future and his Rolls Royce into eldritch phantasms and Chris Brown into a demon (or more of a demon). It doesn’t work without Young Thug, who already had keys to other dimensions. Amidst the bacchanal, Future shouts out Wu-Tang. This song is about clothes the way “Da Mystery Of Chessboxin’” is about kung fu.

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