Kid-Friendly Christmas Rap Mix

To celebrate the end of 2012/the beginning of 2013, I present to you a kid-friendly, old-school rap mix. I left off CHRISTMAS IN HOLIS, cuz I think we've all heard that enough already.

Stream it via Soundcloud or download it from Soundcloud or Sendspace. Share it!

Things I learned from making this mix:
1. rappers want to cold chill with Santa
2. rappers like singing/sampling "Jingle Bells" over a hip-hop beat.

Christmas in Oldskool County (download via Soundcloud or Sendspace)
Christmas Rappin'- Kurtis Blow
He's Santa Claus- Disco 4
Let the Jingle Bells Rock- Sweet Tee
A Surf MCs New Year- Surf MC's
Christmas Time Megamix- Luke
What You Want For Christmas- Quad City DJs, 69 Boys & K- Nock
Chillin' with Santa- Derek B.
Christmas Rap- Cutmaster D.C.
Funky Fresh Christmas- Busy Boys
Cold Chillin' Christmas- Cold Chillin' Juice Crew
Winter Wonderland - D Boy
Dana Dane is Coming to Town- Dana Dane
Christmas Rappin' - Dizzy Heights
Christmas in the City- King Sun-D Moet
(I'm Spending) Hanukkah In Santa Monica- Tom Lehrer

Happy Holidays from Jef, Hip, and Hop!


This Saturday (12/15) at the Somerville Public Library

Join children's book author, illustrator, and long-time Somerville resident, Jef Czekaj, for an afternoon of fun and art. Using a combination of music, videos, and collaborative drawing activities, Jef will talk and rap about, um, what he does all day.

Jef will show his progression as an artist, from a young kid on Long Island who liked to draw funny superhero comics, to an award-winning "professional" author and illustrator. He'll also share how he goes about writing and illustrating a book and talk about the tools he uses.

Plus, we'll do some fun collaborative comic writing!

Date:  Saturday Dec 15, 2012 
Time:  2:00 PM  -  3:00 PM 
Contact:  Cathy    x2950    cpiantigini@minlib.net 
Location:  Central Library, 79 Highland Avenue, Somerville, MA


Boston Book Festival

This SATURDAY, October 27th, is the Boston Book Festival!
I'll be introducing Mr. Lemony Snicket at 11:00 (at Old South Sanctuary)
and then at 2:45 I'll be reading YES, YES, YAUL! (at the Boston Public Library's Popular Reading Room)

There's lots of other great non-Jef-related events too. Read about them here.


Wack Wednesday #7

I always wondered what went on in the kitchen of Wendy's restaurant. There's a lot more rapping and scary singing burger patties than I thought there would be.


Wack Wednesdays #6

Ugh, this is everything I hate about "kids" music wrapped into one annoying video.

"PRESCHOOL POPSTARS is an adorable trio of little cartoon girls who sing, rap, and dance. Their names are Hailey, Bailey, and Jazz, and their new album "Daycare Dance Party" features an exciting mix of pop, hip-hop and country styles. And though these sassy little divas are in still in preschool, their clever brand of music appeals to children of all ages and even grown ups."


Lupe Fiasco - Kick Push

Kick, push, kick, push, kick, push, Coassssst.

To celebrate the opening of Lil Wayne's New Orleans' Skate Park (Trukstop), we present Lupe Fiasco's classic skateboarding track.


Jaden Smith - The Coolest

We the youngest/ we the ones that know what's up

I know, I know, Will Smith's son does not need more press, but, come on, how can you not be charmed by this dude?

The video is full of that Spike Lee dolly shot trick (so Jaden looks like he's floating, rather than walking, down the lovely streets of L.A.) and Mr. Smith's flow is surprisingly impressive and complicated. He also looks an awful lot like his dad

Why wasn't this released in July? Seems like it would have been an awesome summer jam.


Wack Wednesdays #5

Look how funky he is!

OK, this is a slightly confusing edition of Wack Wednesdays.

You see, once upon a time long before you were born, a movie named Teen Witch was released (1989). In that movie, there is a legendarily bad and embarrassingly funny rap scene.

What I've posted today, however, is a shot-for-shot remake of that exact scene made in 2010. Does this transcend wackness? Perhaps some day you can write your thesis on these videos.

Bonus: Here's a version that takes place in Wizards of Warcraft.


Amor Lilman - Pull Ya Pants Up

You chillin' in the club/ Well how you gonna dance?

This video is the jam for several reasons:

1. Amor Lilman is a (good!) 9-year-old rapper.
2. It features a cameo by (a very awkward) Marty Markowitz, Brooklyn Borough President.
3. It might be the only rap song whose message my mom can wholeheartedly support (baggy pants, yuck!).
4. It is painfully catchy.
5. Some DJ should play this and Cameltoe by Fannypack (which, btw, is not kid-friendly) back to back.


Wack Wednesdays #4

Wow, I don't even know how one would begin to explain this to a young person. I guess, luckily, I think we don't have to.


Black Sheep- The Choice is Yours

EngineEngineNumber Nine, On the New York transit line, If my train goes off the track, Pick it up! Pick it up! Pick it up!

Medium-interesting fact about Black Sheep: They were the first rap group to appear on the Tonight Show w Jay Leno.

Just as a heads-up, this video has some disturbing imagery (drugs, guns, stereotypical images of black people), but the whole point of the video is to not choose those things (in the video, that stuff is crumpled up and tossed away by the Black Sheep).

As always, best to watch it first before you share it with your kids.

I'm working on a new mix of good kid-friendly rap. I should post it here soon!


Rhymezwell- Robots on the Dance Floor

It don't matter what model robot you're using

Check out the newest video from Cambridge/Somerville/Boston's own King of Kidz-Hop, Rhymezwell!!

Dancing robots. What more do you need to know??


Freestyle Fellowship - 120 Seconds

I just turned a hundred and seventy five million two hundred and seventy three and I'm at my peak

Hmm, don't really know much about these guys, but this is classic-sounding 90's jazzy west-coast freestyling. 120 seconds (actually 124 seconds) well spent.


Wack Wednesdays #3

I'm sort of hesitant to put this vintage-90's rap about the Legend of Zelda in the "wack" category cuz I think this dude's flow is kind of great.


Hot Cheetos & Takis

OK, I know I'm way late on this one, but, c'mon, this is the best. I hope their next track is a little less product-placement-y, but, that said, hot cheetos ARE awesome.


Wack Wednesdays #2

Hmmm....I like pirates. I like rap.

Then why don't I like "pirate rap"?


B-Real, Coolio, Method Man, LL Cool J And Busta Rhymes - Hit Em High

"I'm startin' a line-up by gettin' y'all to bring the livestock"

Um, remember in that last post I explained how the late-80's/early-90's were a weird time for rap music, as big business figured out there was money to be made from hip-hop culture? Well, um, I guess this video shows that the mid-90's were a weird time too.

This song is from Space Jam, a movie which somehow starred both Bugs Bunny AND Michael Jordan. It is not good. That said, I do kind of like this song. B-Real, Method and Busta all put in respectable efforts considering the blandness of the beat.

Also, I'm willing to bet that this is the only time that Coolio and a member of the Wu appear on the same track.

PS: LL Cool J namechecks Bob Dole.


Wack Wednesdays #1

OK, so from here on out Wednesdays are all about highlighting the worst in kid-friendly rap. Unfortunately, there's an awful lot to choose from.

Oh my child, have a seat and allow me to tell you about the confusing era known as the late-80's/early-90's. Advertisers had finally figured out that this whole rap thing was maybe more than just a passing fad, and it was time to try to make some $$$$$ off it.

The result: many commercials liks this one.

You know it's going to be a rough ride when the lyrics start with the phrase "I'm" blah-blah-blah "and I'm here to say."

Also: the copywriters couldn't think of a better rap name than Master Rapper?

And if you think that one was bad, check out Barney's follow-up.

Once again: CD Rapper was the best you could do for a name?????


ESG - You're No Good

"You're no good"

Check out this super-old live clip by ESG (you weren't even born yet)!

OK, these guys aren't TECHNICALLY rap, but their music is some of the most sampled in all of hip hop history. From Big Daddy Kane to J. Cole, the rap world owes the Scroggins sisters from the Bronx a lot of gratitude.

Their song "Erase You" is one of my favorite songs of all time.


The Pharcyde - Drop

"Obsolete is the punk that talk more junk that Sanford sells"

This video is dope. It'd be awesome to show kids this video and see when/if they figure out exactly how it was made. The concept is so simple (here's Spike Jonez's one-page treatment description), but it's really well done. Plus, it's a great song and it looks like they're having an awesome time making it.

Keep an eye out for the Beastie Boys cameo.

Parental note: this is the "radio edit". The original has a couple of relatively minor curses in it.


THEESatisfaction - Deeper

"my melanin is relevant, there's something to be had"

Saw these guys last night opening for Shabazz Palaces and dang they were good. Though most of their songs have, um, "adult"(though very posi) subject matters, this radio-edit live version of their song "Deeper" will do just fine.


Kid-friendly Jay-Z, Part II

"Yes sir, I'm cut for a different cloth/ My texture is the best fur, chinchilla"

The quest for the kid-appropriate Jay-Z continues with this one, a duet with his Young B. His rap's a little more substantial than his Umbrella one; 16 bars instead of just 8.

For some reason, this video consists of stick figures dancing.

Kid-friendly Jay-Z, Part I

"Jay/ Rain Man is back with little Ms. Sunshine/ Rihanna where you at"

Not surprisingly, most of Jay-Z's best songs are not kid-appropriate. But with a little digging you can find a few non-cussy verses. His rap on Umbrella is a mere 8-bars long, but at least he behaves himself.

This is a funny stick-figure cartoon interpretation of the song.


YES, YES, YAUL at ArtBeat

Hey Boston-area folks: Jef Czekaj will be doing a special book-reading/rapping of YES, YES, YAUL this weekend at Somerville's big art festival, Artbeat. He'll be teaming up with fellow too-many-consonants-in-their-name picture book author/illustrator Jarrett J. Krosoczka for a performance that will smoosh together rap and punk music, drawing and rapping into one epic book reading.

It all goes down Saturday, July 21 at 2:15 at the Starbucks Plaza right in Davis Square, Somerville. It's free and Jef and Jarrett will be autographing books!

It's gonna look like this:


Lil Nat Boyz-"Row Yo Boat"

"Cannonball into my bankroll."

We expect big things from this crew. Also worth watching: their Drank in my Cup parody in which they make it rain kool-aid packets.


Bana Nah Nah Nah

"He works all day on his com-pu-tah/ Now all he can say is bana-nah-nah-nah"

Man, I don't know anything about this video except that when I show it at schools and libraries kids go crazzzzzzzzyyy.


Fat Boys- Stick Em

"Make the bass come out so clear"

This video rules. Memo to myself: get a Fat Boys t-shirt.


Dino 5- Dino 5 Theme

Hip-hop for kids made by members of The Roots, Jurassic 5, Digable Planets, and Prince Paul!!! Why, oh why, hasn't there been a follow-up album?


Eric B. & Rakim- Eric B. is President

"No tricks in '86"

Once upon a time there was a magical place called Yo! MTV Raps.


Joeski Love - Pee Wee's Dance

 "Just look at the crowd and say 'I meant to do that'"

This clip has pretty much everything I want in a rap video: a nerdy teacher type, a giant boombox, a robot made of aluminum foil, and Ice-T as a backup dancer.

PS: This is exactly what my high school science class was like.


Yes, Yes Yaul

Oh, here's the book trailer for my latest Hip and Hop book, YES, YES, YAUL!

Chicken Noodle Soup- Webstar feat. Young B

"Let it rain and clear it out."

I wish the whole video was just of the dude dancing at 2:11.

Everything is Everything- Lauryn Hill

"More powerful than two Cleopatras"

Any song that mentions Nassau Coliseum gets instant props.

Can I Kick It?- A Tribe Called Quest

"Wipe your feet really good on the rhythm rug"

A classic from A Tribe Called Quest and a positive message for the sheep of the world!:
"Yes, ewe can!"