This time of year, we're all usually ducking our heads into our hoods and stuffing our hands into our pockets and just trying to get in out of the wind. So much freezing winter, and the old summer jams don't apply. Still, there are few things more satisfying—or more Canadian—than walking through a blizzard with your headphones on. Sometimes it seems like hip-hop hasn't quite caught up: so many songs about ice and snow, but usually of a different kind. So here's to the songs and videos that capture the frostiest side of the season, when even the daytime's dark.
"Snowday" by Aspektz
Toronto's Aspektz makes February feel like July—sunlight, sunglasses and Triple A's bright shiny sample. On the skating rinks, the ski hills, shivering in the ice hotel, everyone's waving, grinning, celebrating the season. There's the standard-issue reference to "Timmy-Ho's", but the Canadian experience is in the smaller details: maple tire, partying in parkas, the casualness of sub-zero fun. This isn't the first time Aspektz has rapped with a toque on.
"The Winter" by Apathy
A much sterner vision of winter from Apathy's 2006 record, Eastern Philosophy. No fluffy snowbanks here—just bare trees, empty streets, "frost in the corner of [Apathy's] windowsills". Apathy's strikes the perfect tone for those terrible February blues, when the season seems like it will never end. It's a mixture of boredom and fury, like he's personally offended by the temperature. "Thinking like I'm sick when I'm really OK / ... Try waiting for the bus out in freezing weather." When the snow finally falls, it looks like the coldest kind, with whistling wind. This isn't how I imagine Connecticut.
"C.R.E.A.M." by Wu-Tang Clan
The RZA's Charmels piano sample has something a little Vince Guaraldi/Charlie Brown's Christmas about it, but this song wouldn't feel so wintry if not for the classic video. There are Wu-Tang, loping around in winter coats, hats pulled down over their ears. Inspectah Deck even wears his parka at the dining table. It's such a faithful portrayal of inner-city winter, from the rappers' steaming breath to the subway's threatened stick-up. In retrospect, it's a subtle east coast boast: California's not got this.
What are some of your favourite wintry music videos?
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