This week I decided to give a review to Jonwayne’s “Yuletide Bangerz”. I figured it would give you the reader time to check out the album before Christmas and potentially Christmas parties that may happen this weekend. If you haven’t heard of rapper/producer Jonwayne that is completely understandable since most hip-hop fans aren’t familiar with him. He is considered an underground rapper and definitely doesn’t get radio play. The other thing that makes this album even more surprising is that Jonwayne is a very self-reflective artist that many would deem depressing and raw with his emotions which makes this record even more jarring.
This album is what is called a beat album where yes there are some lyrics and singing but they are sparse and far from a focal point. “Yuletide Bangerz” like the rest of Jonwayne’s discography has songs that have very focused beat but a layered in a meticulous way and can be very sample heavy. The samples in “Yuletide Bangerz” are either classic Christmas songs or from samples of dialog from famous Christmas movies and episodes of television. The song “Sticky Bandits” is a layered track that takes parts from the movie “Home Alone” and weaves them smooth snare drum percussion groove that transforms a tired Christmas classic to a song that you can bob your head to. Also in the album, the song “Tis The Season” samples the Muppets and creates a silly scat from a Muppet and transforms it into a fun song with a funky groove.
“Yuletide Bangerz” has already performed a couple of Christmas miracles and it isn’t even December 25th yet. It sampled the dreadfully annoying song “Wonderful Christmastime” by Paul McCartney and actually made a cool song by adding a spaced-out synth groove with additional percussion elements to it. The second Christmas miracle is using dialog from the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie “Jingle All The Way” in an artistic way which is something that no one on earth thought could happen. Other very recognizable samples on this record are by Christmas heavy hitters like Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole and yes even Mariah Carey.
For the most part, this is a very fun that will not just catch hip-hop heads but fans of Christmas music off guard with not only the quality of the album but the reverential treatment that the music and dialog samples are given. This album is perfect for most Christmas parties as long as there aren’t any small children just because of the samples from National Lampoon’s Christmas vacation have some salty language. I am still flabbergasted by this but this does for Christmas albums what J Dilla’s “Donuts” did for hip-hop. It shows not just a respect for the samples and music being used but expands the potential for the genre of music.
*Writer’s Note* This album isn’t available on most streaming apps but can be found on the bandcamp app.