Mixtape Review-Savage Holidays by Boosie Badazz
Savage Holidays is the greatest Christmas rap album of all time. The ability of Boosie to be able to take his superpower (turning painful stories/imagery into stadium sized anthems) and apply it to the holiday season is nothing short of exhilarating. It is not just his pain either. At the end of the title track he directly inhabits the perspective of his Chicago audience and wears their distress “he was finally F*&$in’ shinin’ man that N_ he was bossin’ last year he was rappin’ this year he in a coffin.” The whole project is dedicated to the frustration and terror of being alive in 2019. It is as if Boosie spends his career dissatisfied that the rap world pretends everything is going so well when they know the truth is harrowing.
Death stomps through Savage Holidays leaving deep footprints. Santa Claus of The Ghetto builds up the dope boy as someone who gives back to the community, shines so the poor kids can dream to be as wealthy but the chorus begs for him to stay free as long as possible. Prison or death can take the dope boy away in the wrong swirl of a moment and Boosie makes sure his chorus is pleading, the song feels like it is from a ghetto kids perspective not his. It’s high level writing.
On Christmas List YFN Lucci talks about robbing for PJ Masks, Rich Homie Quan talks about getting drugs in his stocking but the first line Boosie says in his verse is “I just want to be with my family for Christmas.” He spits it as hard as any threat he’s ever hurled; levels it at the loneliness he explores without applying branding tactics to humblebrag package it.
Boosie is not all soul bearing, his sexual appetite is pervasive throughout his work and he certainly pushes forward with that on Savage Holidays. Pussy Got Me Like is dick-on-ya-buttcheeks straightforward and leads into Cold Outside which is significantly less creepy than Baby It’s Cold Outside. He’s clear within the song that he wants to smoke up, laugh, hang out and have lots of sex which seems like a more balanced relationship than the original version. While some will say ending the song with a call for his female audience to twerk is less distinguished than the original I think it is distinctly more honest.
If you are concerned about offensive things than yes, temper your expectations. Boosie is as full of offensive thoughts as he is meaningful introspection and empathy. This project has a song called The Bitch Who Stole Christmas about the time honored seduction as robbery one-two punch. He is livid and shouts the details as if it happened minutes ago and the beat is haunting. My favorite song is This Christmas where his anger tires and over a scratchy guitar he mumbles about letting his people down, going to prison. He uses his voice as an instrument extending words and singing in a way that tortures the melody. The chorus is “This Christmas won’t be like the others. Bells will still be ringin’ children still be singin’ but things won’t be the same at all. I done let my people down, prison walls they closin’ in. Try my best to shed no tears but they fall when holidays are here. This Christmas…” Can you imagine how many people are spending Christmas with these feelings (especially in a country that adores locking people up)? With this pain? Now imagine having Boosie give you and your family this soundtrack. What kind of fan loyalty would you have at that point? That is how Boosie can remain so foundationally strong while never popping up in the trivial hip hop trends. He works from a base that needs him more than they need anyone else.
Stream or download Savage Holidays below: