Too nerdy for the mainstream yet not nerdy enough for nerdcore, Boston rapper Michael Christmas has found a cozy niche within hip-hop’s respected underground vaults from which to flaunt his style and talents. The happy-go-lucky emcee is a master of wit and a respectful disciple of hip-hop who only warmed up with his Is This Art? mixtape from 2014. What A Weird Day, his proper studio debut, doesn’t disappoint either, as he vacillates between day-to-day tongue-in-cheek observations in his life to profound lesson-reminders for anyone willing to listen. To show he is no fly-by-night amateur, he has brought together some of the nicest in the game to produce (Thelonious Martin, Alexander Spit, Polyester The Saint, etc.) and guest (Logic, Mac Miller, Krondon and more), making for an original mix of lovingly curated productions and extensively carried out mic-checks.
Most of Michael Christmas’ draw comes from how he can make the most mundane everyday routines seem interesting to revisit and look back on because his lyrical flow is so clever, specific and directed. Candid and not shy when it comes to poking fun at himself, Christmas is a serious artist rapping about subject matter that is frequently unserious. In a sort of ad-lib, freestyle fashion, he randomly touches on work, his come up, people around his way, love, relationships and getting older all while keeping his good sense of humor about him. As in speech, his diversity of thought is also reflected in the music, which is soulful, sample-based, light at times, pepped up and perfectly manicured with unpredictability in each cut.
A little aimless but an artistic experience still, the independently released What A Weird Day (Oct. 23) is a lyrical wonderland and an alternative beat-lovers daydream. On the surface, Christmas’ character is that of an ordinary person, but because he tells his blunt, unrefined comments in quite the opposite way, in rhymes that are very much polished and cultured, he transcends his everyman status to become a distinguished linguist in the top order for hip-hop. It’s less intriguing what he says and more intriguing how he says them, but imagine if both were so supremely profound. That will most likely be Michael Christmas’ biggest challenge, to see if going forward he can use his terrific songwriting abilities for more than just “party and bullsh*t” as the Notorious B.I.G. might say. Nevertheless, What A Weird Day succeeds on more than one level with sweet, lively energy and pace to motivate the people and get them going.