Few young rappers–perhaps few rappers period–possess the charm, wit, and uniquely humorous self-awareness that make Boston’s Michael Christmas one of the more refreshing recent up-and-comers. Whether lamenting girl troubles, enjoying snacks, or stacking reference upon reference (basketball, film, music, internet personalities, and all manner of pop culture flotsam fill his raps), Christmas details his every day experiences with a considerable cleverness that turns regular activities into entertaining vignettes.
With a string of promising singles dating back to late last summer, Christmas steadily established himself as a rapper to watch. Still, assembling a cohesive project is an entirely different beast.
Is This Art? serves up a satisfying culmination to the last few months of releases, fleshing out Christmas’ vision with an excellent complement of mellow beats to back his strongest rhymes to date. Songs like “House Cleaning Music,” “Overweight Drake,” and the detailed food-narrative “Taco Truck” showcase the young rapper at his finest, giving breathing, amusing detail to familiar situations. Is This Art? is deliverance on the spark of debut “Daily”: Regular guy rap that doesn’t suck.
Read a short conversation with Michael Christmas below, stream Is This Art? below that, and download here. And, if you listen closely, you may even hear a certain P&P blogger’s name on opening track “Y’all Trippin'”
So…what is “art” to Michael Christmas?
Art is whatever you want it to be. Art is when your Pop-Tart isn’t burnt but its just dark enough around the edges. Art is when you try to cross the street too early and instead of beeping and yelling all types of “fuck you’s,” traffic just lets you go. Basically if you see something and think its art, it is art. I know this project is art because of the emotions, fun and hard work put into it by not only me but my whole team.
And where did the name Michael Christmas come from?
The name Michael Christmas came about when I was 16 gearing up to start my official rap career. I was writing and about to make my Twitter, Tumblr, FB fan page etc., but I needed a name. So after pacing around my crib all day thinking about it, I just kicked back on the couch and it came to me like when Mark Wahlberg became Dirk Diggler. I knew it was the one, with my alter ego, Bob Hannukah, as a close runner up.
How did the title and concept for the tape come about?
I was just really interested in the idea of what art is to people in this world right now, and what the limits are/who decides these things. I’m giving people a chance to let me know if my shit is art and I’m letting people know what I think of things right now from an artistic standpoint.
What were you watching and listening to while working on the Is This Art?
I watched a lot of Netflix. I watched Louie, Arrested Development, sometimes movies from my youth like Space Jam or Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. As far as music, I listened to almost everything that passed by me, any new artists with small names or new tapes/albums/singles that just dropped. I’m fascinated with artists at a small level because this is the time to show what you can do without resources you get when you’re bigger.
What’s your favorite reference on the tape?
My favorite reference on Is This Art? is the Jay and Silent Bob shit on “Broke & Young” where I sing part of the song they sing when they sell the kids drugs in the beginning of Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. It’s my favorite because whenever people hear that or I perform it a couple people know where it’s from and go ham haha. It’s dope.
Tell us a joke.
– Why is it cold on Christmas?
– Because its Decemburrrrrr… cc: Gucci Mane
Who is the funniest rapper of all time?
For now, Action Bronson. But I’m pulling up to that spot eventually, in the Geo with my head out the sunroof cuz I don’t fit all the way in. And on the radio it’s only “Freaky Tales” by Too Short on repeat.
Favorite late night snack?
Favorite late night snack is Tostitos little bowl shaped chips and salsa either medium or hot. And I need like four Capri Suns with it (one Caprisun is never enough!)
Hopefully I get some girls now haha! Naw, now it’s time to listen to Is This Art? and enjoy the piece of work we put together, then start experimenting with different styles and ill new music. Also, working with artists I meet along this years campaign. I want to grow everyday, that’s all.
I hope you love Is This Art? Hit my twitter @MickeyChristmas and tell me if you think it’s art! Love you all, thank you.