A few years back, “regular guy” rap threatened (very politely and rather half-heartedly) to stake a claim in the mainstream, with emcees like J. Cole and Wale proving that some listeners wanted more than conspicuous consumption pure and simple; emcees like XV, Chiddy Bang, and Rockie Fresh showed that rapping about playing Xbox and getting fucked up (without hitting the strip club) could effectively forge a path to major label attention. The issue with much of the music that fell under the faintly damning genre header was what you might expect: Rapping about being a regular isn’t that interesting. While J. Cole managed to ride polished technique, tremendous work ethic, and a few high profile songs about relationships to relative stardom, Wale was forced to change up the style that marked his rise to prominence, incongruously slammed into the Maybach Music mold.
None of the above is to say that there should be a regular guy rap revival, that it should be done right this time, but it is to say that when it is done right–with humor, self-deprecation, and wit–it can still be enjoyable, the sorts of flashes rappers like XV showed but have yet to deliver on a more consistent basis.
Michael Christmas’ Adult Swim-worthy deadpan detailing of his dull daily routine–waking up, cooking a hot pocket, taking a shower, going out into uncomfortably hot weather, eating chicken wings, daydreams while driving, going to disappointing parties–on the plainly titled “Daily” is the sort of treatment that elevates “regular guy” rap into the realm of the humorous and borderline surrealist. The amusingly literal video for “Daily” adds comical dimension to the song’s lyrics, driving home a certain sense of hamster-in-treadmill futility with touches like Christmas failing to light a cigarette while he takes a shower as he raps about hoping for a smoke. It’s a tweak on a flailing subgenre that doesn’t fall into the all-too-familiar trap of suffocating earnestness.
Check out the Boston emcee’s “Daily” below.