Holiday jingles and eggnog are Christmas classics. Overly simplified lyrics, doleful emotional sentiment, and reoccurring, commonly overused, hooks throughout the album make Merry Christmas Lil’ Mama another classic; that being a weak concoction that receives more praise for being around during heightened spirits than something truly tasteful to enjoy throughout the entire year.
A collaboration album requires blending two differentiating artistic talents for a strong unified production. Chance the Rapper supplies his strong personality and Jeremih adds in his soulful voice to this album, but once one attempts to step outside their strengths, the album begins to feign. With all these cracks, Merry Christmas Lil’ Mama cannot be put back together.
Chance’s rap verses are strong and Jeremih’s singing is pleasing to hear, but seldom do both positively perform without the crutch of each other on tracks; Chance sings horribly, lacking any vocal range or character and Jeremih raps without any meaningful substance, weakening the quality of the entire album.
The biggest perpetrator of these crimes is The Tragedy.
Duly named, this tragedy is a look into a freezing homeless man and his winter ahead. It’s fortunate that whoever is being described will most likely not hear this song. Chance avoids any personality in his singing. Almost crying, Chance is screechy, without the ability to bring emotion to this horrid song. Lacking direction, The Tragedy is cut off by Noname, awkwardly ending the track.
On Merry Christmas Lil’ Mama, repeatedly, Jeremih cannot crossover his singing and rapping. This burdens creating unified songs. Although the bulk of rapping is Chance’s contribution, Jeremih is mostly filler when the mic comes to him for a rap verse.
The title track offers a generic verse by Jeremih to describe his Christmas. Like all of his previous rap verses, Jeremih lacks wordplay. If this wasn’t detrimental enough, the concluding song contributes the worst verse on the album.
The King Louie feature fits almost nowhere within the album, or to any of Merry Christmas Lil’ Mama’s themes. It’s apparent that sex is clearly on the top of his Christmas list, contradicting the entire project’s ambition and message.
Merry Christmas Lil’ Mama is a horrible way to conclude the album and is the epitome of the shortcomings on this album; mediocre passion and lazy lyricism is riddled throughout the album and is perfectly illustrated in the odd sequence of verses by Jeremih, Chance, and King Louie. There is no blend between this song’s, and altogether the album’s, individual parts, lacking any sense of a collaboration album.
A song that shows this flaw is Stranger at the table. Jeremih has a smooth beginning, but Chance’s verse is just another rhyme about his ex. Chance is self-indulged with mentioning his ex in every album he is on, and listeners are now at the point they can expect her mentioned continuously, compromising his talents for cheap personal remarks.
Another problem with Merry Christmas Lil’ Mama is the abundance of filler songs. Snowed in and Joy suffer from sounding as if they were the same track, and both just fall into the bland aura of the album created.
Nobody must have informed the duo that the sleigh/slay double entendre isn’t funny, and for that being the main hook on Snowed in just adds to the corniness of album. Also, the repetition of sleigh is beat at this point in the album, being mention previously on the intro track All the Way.
Emotionally lackluster, and also featuring one of the worst verses by Chance, Joy is one of the most boring songs on Merry Christmas Lil’ Mama. The song is so slow and dull, I wonder if either of the two ever experienced that emotion before.
I’m your Santa is another track that just blends into the album. Jeremih’s singing sounds exactly the same as every other song, and the dance instructions by Chance does nothing but add filler.
I Shoulda of left you is one song that breaks from this critique. A definite highlight for the album, Jeremih offers a playful verses and the catchy hook brings unity with both his rapping and singing. Likewise, Chi-Town Christmas offers an urban rendition of Carol of the Bells, celebrating the holiday in the tradition of family, drinking and smoking and All the way is another upbeat song to ignite the holiday spirt.
Merry Christmas Lil’ Mama has too many flaws to sound like one whole production. Decent songs are scattered throughout the project, but they do not make up for the slack in the poor tracks. Merry Christmas Lil’ Mama feels as if Chance and Jeremih thought of their listeners this holiday, but then gave them a rushed project instead of a refined album as a gift. Releasing individual singles would have been a better solution instead of a haphazardly creating a Christmas album.