Sufjan Stevens + Various Artists - Chopped & Scrooged

Tired of "Baby, It's Cold Outside" and trying to live on the holiday edge through the tired strains of "Jingle Bell Rock"? I know I am. I know a very special person who'd back me up on it too. In the past, indie musicians have provided us with some delightful Christmas albums. She & Him put out one that relies on nostalgia as much as invention. Some of my favorite tracks of all came from Saturday Looks Good to Me, including a great cover of the classic "Blue Christmas." And then there's Sufjan Stevens. His recent 5-disc Christmas release Silver & Gold bounds artistically from melodic beauty to utter drug-trip chaos. Turns out though, Sufjan wasn't done there. Though any fan of Stevens' sprawling career know that he doesn't go long without recording, creating, dramatizing and philosophizing. So, as an early Christmas gift (perhaps a Hanukkah present to Stevens' mensch fanbase?) he has released Chopped & Scrooged, an epically enjoyable mixtape of Christmas themed hip-hop and rap.

The album features the likes of Heems, The Pro Letarians, Kitty Pryde, Electric iLL and DMA and Oreo Jones. What comes to pass are 9 inventive, fucking excellent rap tracks that sometimes related directly to the coming Winter Solstice-turned-Christian-turned-Retail-turned-Tree-related-Sex-Pose holiday. Track 2, The Pro Letarians "Dreamcatcher" is a phenomenal track. And the album hits another powerful high point with "Black Christmas" a song that seems to be half-irony and half-bold statement of the difference between the holiday for the races. The fast-paced "Ding-a-ling-a-ring-a-ling" is a brutal treatise on the shopping season, the economy, and occasionally doing things to Santa with one's balls. "Xmas In The Room" is a playful, boastful sex call to Olde St. Nick featuring a synth-repeated refrain of "come" by New Orleans based rapper Nicky Da B. Kitty Pryde's "Implants and Yankee Candles" is delightfully lo-fi, quippy and quirky. And the beautiful "Blue Baktun" features Stevens most prominently with synthy down beats and slow rhymes by Electric iLL. The closer "Xmas Woes" is excellent too.

If you are tired of the traditional Christmas. If you are tired of the '70s and '80s rock-Christmas of Paul McCartney's "Christmastime" and that shit that Geldof and Band Aid put out there back when it was cool to thank the maker that Ethiopians were starving instead of you, then Chopped & Scrooged is, in fact, for you. Check it out below. Or just download it here. It's free... the way joy and cheer are supposed to be.


  1. The TADA! "Black Christmas" video from Chopped and Scrooged:


    1. That video is spectacular. Thanks for sharing it! And great job with that track. It's exceptional.

    2. Many thanks, Nate! We try. More videos up, and more in the works. TADA! and (Charles)Book&Record full-lengths *hopefully* out early next year (cross your fingers).