Time to get holiday jingle on with DRAM

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Grade: B

Nothing says, “it’s time for snow, peppermint and Christmas lights” more than festive music. With the end of the semester drawing to a close, it’s time for everyone to start constructing their holiday playlists. If you enjoy traditional Holiday tunes, but love a nice twist on the classics, DRAM’s “#1HappyHoliday” singles might need to be on your holiday playlist this year.

DRAM is Shelley Marshaun Massenburg-Smith’s stage name. D.R.A.M. stands for, “Does Real Ass Music.” You might have heard of him before — he dropped a single called Broccoli in 2016 featuring Lil Yachty. His genre is R&B, hip-hop, soul and trap.

The first track off #1HappyHoliday is DRAM’s rendition of “Silver Bells,” which was originally composed by Jay Linvingston and Ray Evans in 1950. DRAM’s “Silver Bells” cover features BigBabyMom, and it’s an interesting take on the classic Christmas tune.

DRAM is well known for his trap style but in this song — he shows us more of a soul and blues/jazz side of his musical ability. He stays true to the original lyrics of “Silver Bells,” but he cuts out the first verse. This song really makes you feel like swaying and letting everything loose. I think it’s a great song to listen to and unwind a bit. His use of piano is a great approach that added more of jazz feeling and not so much the typical cheery Christmas feel associated with holiday tunes, although that Christmas vibe is still there. The use of classic blues and jazz singing styles really pulls it all together.

The next song DRAM covers on his #1HappyHoliday singles is “The Christmas Song.” Just like “Silver Bells,” DRAM keeps the original lyrics, but, halfway through, he adds a couple of his own, explaining how he feels about the Christmas season, and what gifts really mean. He says, “Here’s a trick, here’s a catch, or just a fact, everyday life is a gift, every day that you’re here is another day that you have to be thankful for.” Without his added lyrics in the middle of this song I think it would have been rather bland, just another Christmas song cover.

All throughout the song, he sings with beautiful tone and vibrato. He keeps the jazz/blues feeling going in this song as well, reminding us that he has more to offer than the trap and hip-hop music he is known for.

“#1HappyHoliday,” the third and final song, is DRAM’s Christmas original. He’s taken two holiday classics and shown us what he can do to “jazz” up the holiday feel, and with this he brings us back to his hip-hop and trap vibes. “#1HappyHoliday” is my favorite single of the three because it reminds me of the album “Bright Moments” by Flamingosis. They both have a unique hip-hop/soul feel to them.

“#1HappyHoliday” is unlike a lot of Christmas songs — the majority of Christmas songs I’ve listened to are cheery and all about gifts and giving gifts, but this one is about making love and spending the night with someone. The song begins slowly, with the jingling of bells, and then it transitions into a clean trap beat. It’s a simply written song if we only listen to the instrumental part of it, even when the lyrics are added it’s still not a crazy Christmas song. There are backup vocals that add to the overall feeling.

Even though it’s a Christmas song about making love, it’s not vulgar. He says, “I’ll be making love this Christmas,” and “But the greatest gift is if you spend the night with me.” The song is probably not a “family” type of Christmas song, but it’s a Christmas song nonetheless.

 

I think DRAM did a great job of taking a couple of classic holiday tunes and transforming them into something different, and maybe even better. I think he made a smart move writing an original Christmas tune along with covering two classics. His use of not only trap and hip-hop, but jazz and blues tones gave them a different kind of holiday feeling and I think that’s what made his three singles unique.

The holiday season is a very festive and energetic time of the year. If you’re trying to add some extra spunk to your holiday parties, add these singles to your playlist. They’re the shot of rum you add to your eggnog just to feel a little warmer inside.

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