Everyday is a Holiday With Michael Christmas

Will Hagle prefers to bat his best hitter second in the lineup If you don’t want to be bothered with a long-winded ramble about my personal feelings towards Boston, skip these next four paragraphs,...
By    May 13, 2014

Michael-Christmas

Will Hagle prefers to bat his best hitter second in the lineup

If you don’t want to be bothered with a long-winded ramble about my personal feelings towards Boston, skip these next four paragraphs, which can be boiled down to this: Michael Christmas is a good rapper and I’ve been watching too much Cheers.

In terms of geographical representation, Michael Christmas is the best rapper in recent memory to rock Red Sox gear since Big Papi yelled along to “Fuck Wit Me You Know I Got It” from his float at the World Series parade. Gang Starr, Mr. Lif and the Editor in Chief of The Sauce all have put Beantown on the map, but the city is arguably more overlooked than it should be.

I may be an outlier in my belief that, despite regionalism losing much of its importance in music, location still has a huge effect on an artist’s output. Lakers/Yankees fans may disagree, but there’s something about Boston that does, to an outsider, seem worth rooting for. I also once bought a ticket to and enjoyed the Gwenyth Paltrow film “Country Strong”, though, so maybe I am a sucker for empowering catchphrases.

I have also been binge-watching Cheers on Netflix, and I keep half-expecting Christmas to bumble his way through the door as Coach yells out a familiar “Michael!” (I have only watched through season one in this binge and am also irrationally half-expecting Coach to never leave).

Netflix’s editorial staff has boiled Cheers down to a simple, tagged description: “This show is: Witty.” Spotify and other applications with poor music discovery services have proved it’s as impossible to categorize music as it is TV and movies, but “witty” is as good a description for Christmas as any.

The rapper’s latest mixtape asks Is This Art?, but we’re too far removed both mentally and chronologically from the think piece blitzkrieg of 2011 for that question to be anything but rhetorical. It’s a smart title, though, especially considering Christmas’s music tests that ever-thinning line between humor and seriousness.

Frequently covered topics on the tape include Pokemon, masturbation, and the fact that Christmas is only 19. Further references to Superbad, Instagram, Snapchat and emojis reaffirm his age.

It’s a little off-putting to hear Christmas reference about how great he is for 19 when so many rappers dropped classic albums as preteens, in an era before “pre-teens” was a term used to describe pre-teens.

His songs do contain beyond-his-years pop culture references though, making him a little less outrageous than the Loiter Squad but a little more tolerable than Gambino. He’s as much inspired by Chappelle’s Dylan and Andy Milonakis (who he is the self-proclaimed best-rapper-since) as he is Kanye and Lil’ B. His wit is sharp but his deadpan delivery gives things a more dialed-back tone.

Tales of being broke, young and lonely with a Netflix account (now showing Cheers!) are aplenty throughout Is This Art?, injecting a healthy dose of honesty around all those punchlines.

“Daily” is a play-by-play of the life of rapper with Snorlax-like tendencies. “Overweight Drake” has a great line that I wont spoil about Bonecrusher. “Taco Truck” is basically a word-for-word recreation of Season 3, Episode 18 of Workaholics, in which “the dudes go on a midnight road trip for the ultimate breakfast burrito.”

“Michael Cera” salutes the actor with which Christmas shares both half his namesake and his general approach to the spotlight. It doesn’t seem like a mistake that he smashes the words “awkward as hell” into one beat of that song’s hook.

There are videos that accompany “Daily” and “Michael Cera,” and they are, as Seth Rogan confirms, hilarious. Everything Christmas touches is that music to clean your house to, enjoyable in the background but better if you’re listening pretty closely, too.

At 16 tracks, Is This Art? is about equivalent to the length of 3 Cheers episodes. It’s worth sacrificing precious binge time to witness the proverbial first season of what could potentially prove to be a modern Boston classic.

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