Kareem Rahma Survives A Dinner Party From Hell In “Really Rich Parents” Video
The comedian and musician makes a few wealthy enemies in a new video premiere on NYLON.
Months before the words on everyone’s lips were “nepo baby,” Kareem Rahma was thinking about a painter he once briefly dated. She had an enormous apartment, a hot tub on the roof, and a confusing total of zero paintings. Quickly things became clear: She came from capital-M money. Rahma’s situation is not particularly unique. Who among us in this town hasn’t known a chronically unemployed person with an unlimited budget thanks to their wealthy family?
Now, Rahma’s latest release, the scuzzy rock track “Really Rich Parents,” brings cheeky humor to the ongoing nepotism and wealth discussion. Rahma’s thesis is simple, effective, and annoyingly true on a frequent basis: “Everyone you thought was cool just has really rich parents.” Rahma’s gritty croon counts off historical nepo baby signifiers like summering in Saint-Tropez and potential Kuwaiti heritage, packing in pithy observations like: “If she calls him father instead of saying dad / You know he made his money doing something real bad.”
Meanwhile, the Willem Holzer-directed video, premiering Thursday on NYLON, imagines how the song would be received at a lavish dinner party with the really rich — and hyper-sensitive — parents in attendance. And much like nepo babies lashing out in headlines, things get messy. The video also features New York faces like Fabrizio Brienza, the legendary doorman at Paul’s Casablanca, as well as the admin for the viral meme account @NeoLiberalHell, Ana. M.
Below, watch the video, and read on for a short conversation with Rahma as he talks writing lyrics, his forthcoming EP, and more.
I like how cheeky the song is, especially the line about maybe being Kuwaiti, because that’s serious wealth. Someone I know married this Kuwaiti oil guy, and when she had kids, she posed her newborn for photos inside a Birkin.
That's so funny because when I was writing the song, I was imagining this girl, and she was white. And then all of a sudden I was like, "Oh wait, they come in all different colors." You know what I mean? And yeah, that was a fun silly little line.
The nepotism spectrum is wide.
When did you write these lyrics exactly? Was it a long simmering thing or was it post-nepo baby discourse?
It was pre, by a lot. The first time we recorded anything was August 21. I had already recorded the song plus drums by the time the article came out, so I think I wrote the song probably in July.
Did the nepo baby discourse annoy you that it was coming out in such full force when it did?
Here's my thing: I don't want people to think that I wrote the song as a reaction to the piece. You know what I mean? For me, it's like, "Wait, I already had this idea, guys. I'm not jumping on the trend. I already wrote the song and recorded it before the article came out." I needed to get money to make the music video, and so I had to save up some funds to do that. And unfortunately, Vulture beat me to the punch. But I think, at the end of the day, I also think that it's probably good for the song because it's in the zeitgeist, it's in the conversation. And before that, it might have been just funny, but not necessarily a part of what everyone's talking about.
Everyone has their own opinion on it by now.
The first line of the song is, "She's a nepotism baby," but I had never even heard the term nepo baby. You know what I mean? It's just something that I thought I came up with, but turns out everyone knows.
Isn't that the worst…
I was like, "Fuck." At first I was a little bit shocked actually, and then I was kind of upset that I hadn't released it yet. And then I was like, "You know what? This is probably for the better." Kind of just a, what's meant to be is meant be.
Did you write the music as well?
I have a collaborator, Tyler McCauley, who has worked on all of my songs, and he wrote the actual guitar. I write the lyrics and then we sit in the studio, and then he's like, "What about this? What about this? What about this?" And then we just craft the song together. But he plays all of the instruments. But then on this song, we brought in another friend, Dale, to do the drums live
I've made a lot of songs. I think I have five on Spotify, and they're all very funny. This is the first time I wanted to make it clever, but I also have the music to be really good. I'm really proud of how this song turned out because it's like a catchy, good song, but it's also fun.
Was there really something that sparked the song? I'm sure you've met many cool people with rich parents, but was there one in particular that made this happen?
I had this minor relationship that was six weeks, maybe two years ago. And this girl's like, "I'm a painter, blah, blah, blah," but she had this enormous apartment and a hot tub on the roof and —
Oh, it's very literal then.
Yeah. I was like, "What is going on here?" And then I found out her parents were extremely notable and wealthy people, and I was like, "Oh." Because she also didn't have any paintings in the house. I was like, "Can I see them?" She's like, "Oh, they're not ready." And I was like, "There's none? There's not one painting?" But that was the genesis of the song.
That's how most of the songs start, is with one sentence. I'm going to do a song called “Working From Home,” but it's not funny. It's like that song “Sex and Candy.” Very melancholic. But I will just start writing a song with a little nugget. This one just started with the words "really rich parents," and then it just spiraled. But it was definitely influenced by that situation shift that I had.
Do you have any plans for an EP?
I'm working on an EP right now. They're not novelty songs. On one hand you've got Lonely Island and Adam Sandler who make funny music that, generally speaking, you don't listen to all the time. It's not on your playlist. And so I'm trying to make pretty funny music that is listenable all the time. It would just be a song that's on your playlist and that you could play at a party or in a movie or whatever. I have a five or six song EP probably coming out in the next couple of months that will all be those songs that toe the line between very funny but also good, well-written music.
No, I definitely clocked that. The lyrics are funny, but I wouldn't necessarily categorize it as a comedy song.
Exactly. The closest comparison I can kind of think about is Blink 182. Because they're zany and goofy and funny, but their music is great, and a lot of the songs have a funny premise, but they're not comedy songs. I think that's the path that I'm going to take. I think that's the closest vibe in terms of both balancing humor and music.
I had the plan to do two separate EPs. One called I'm a Rapper and the other one called I am Not a Rapper. And the rap songs would be rap songs and then the not rap songs would be rock songs. But after making a rap song, which I enjoyed doing, I just realized that my strength is more in the music that I kind of listen to on a daily basis, which is more so rock and roll, and indie, and kind of weird, psychedelic rock, pop-punk, and punk. I was like, "You know what? I'm just going to kind of scrap the rap record and just form a band, really, that can play shows." I was also thinking about shows, I just think it would be more fun to perform with a band.
What was the inspiration behind the “Really Rich Parents” video?
My good friend Will Holzer is the one that thought of the concept for the video and he's the one that pitched it. I was honestly like, "I have no idea what you're talking about." Because he was talking about a lot of technical stuff like. We shot the video in slow motion, but I had to sing the song at twice the speed so that when you put them together, the song is at a regular pace and my mouth is moving with the words, but the video is slow motion. I was like, "What are you talking about?" Essentially it's like: "You go to this dinner party with your rich girlfriend and just start singing the song and they all get really upset at you." And I was like, "That's probably true."
Nepotism babies truly cannot stand it. It's so funny.
That's what's funny about this song. I'm very curious as to what the reception's going to be. I'm friends with a lot of nepo babies, and it's like, "I hope they know it's a joke," but at the same time it's just the truth.
I mean, if they're chill, it's like, "Yeah, you are rich. Just be rich. It’s okay."
That's exactly what I said. One of my friends who is rich — or has rich parents, I should say — was like, "Can I hear the song?" I was like, "Hmm, it might be a little offensive." When I played it, he just started cracking up and spat his drink out around the chorus. He's also one of those people where I was like, "Oh, how can you afford to do all these things?" He was like, "My parents are rich." I was like, "Sick. I like you." You know what I mean? I'm into that. At the end of the day, I think we all, to a certain extent, want to be rich and it's like fine, you know?
Also, if you're rich, maybe pay for dinner once in a while and don't make me split the bill.
Or, like, shoot my music video for free. The DP on set was like, "My parents are rich. They bought me this camera." I was like, "This is so tight. My entire crew is just rich kids." It's great.
Close to the source material.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.