Chance the Rapper's New Christmas Album Gives Us Some Hope for the Holidays
Listen to his excellent new album with Jeremih, Merry Christmas Lil’ Mama: Re-Wrapped.
BY Matt Miller | Dec 24, 2017 | Music
Three days before Christmas 2016, Chance the Rapper and Jeremih dropped Merry Christmas Lil’ Mama, a holiday album filled with hope during a time when it seemed like there was none. It was the waning days of the Obama administration, Trump loomed on the horizon. After an unbelievably fraught year, Chance and Jeremih gave the gift of optimism that can't be purchased and wrapped for the holidays.
Well, it seems like Chance's faith survived 2017, too. On Tuesday night, he and Jeremih dropped Merry Christmas Lil’ Mama: Re-Wrapped, a gospel rap album with 10 new tracks and drum contributions from Common and Master of None’s Lena Waithe. One of these tracks is a remix of last year's "Stranger at the Table."
It's an album that's full of joy in hard times, like on "Family For," where Chance meets up with his cousins to hang out and they end up "screamin' 'Fuck the president' like Marilyn Monroe." If that's not an encouraging image I don't know what is. Trump can suck the light out of this country, but he can't stop Chance from meeting up with his cousins and telling the president to fuck off.
But being positive, for Chance, doesn't mean ignoring the reality of our current state of the country. On the stunning "One More Cry," he raps:
But Christmas feel like Simba on a Father's Day / I'm supposed to be the strongest the oldest the leader of our country-ass family / The POTUS the podium come up to my shoulders / I'm short and I'm shook and I'm broke and my favorite voters can't show up to the polls and you still don't want me to show emotion and I refuse
Here, he's the voice of how a lot of people feel right now. Even as they're are waking up to this album, they're also waking up to the passing of shameful Republican tax legislation. But this song is about strength and unity in desperate times and the holidays. One can be at once somber, joyful, and optimistic. Maybe we should all try to be a little bit more like Chance for the holidays. This album is a good reminder of that. And maybe that's why he ends the above verse with: "Know I said that was the last one last year. But we both know you deserve one last tear."
Chance knows exactly what we need for Christmas. And did I mention this gift is free?