The great Emily Gordon, aka DJ Emily Rabbit, and celebrated emcee/hip hop artist and community activist Eze Jackson are both no strangers to throwing a rager worth writing home about. Over the years each has put on their fair share of holiday bashes.
From 2004 to 2014, Gordon would throw her Xmas Face-Melter which included acts like Spank Rock, DJ Contra, Amanda Blank, Ninja Sonik, Ami Dang, Dope Body, and The Death Set. Gordon has stepped back into Santa’s lair, teaming up with Jackson to reignite the yule log at “A Very Messy Xmas” next week! She gave me the “skinny.”
“I asked Eze to co-host a hybrid show of sorts with me this year where we would curate our favorite Baltimore artists past and present including: DJ Rod Lee (the godfather of Baltimore Club and creator of some of the city’s most popular club anthems including “Dance My Pain Away”), Naeem of Spank Rock, Miss Kam (an up-and-coming dynamo rapper from West Baltimore who is also an ophthalmic technician at the John Hopkins Hospital), Mowder Oyal (a crazy blend of jazz, hardcore and Baltimore Club who feature an actual bassoonist-they are incredible), and my great friend and DJ legend James Nasty, all hosted by that good hero Eze Jackson who’s collaborative spirit and energy for Baltimore talent was my inspiration for booking this party as a holiday gift to the city we all love.”
Turns out though that this is a party with a mission, Gordon explains:
“We are also donating a portion of proceeds to Baltimore Beat, a Black-led, Black-controlled nonprofit newspaper and media outlet. Our mission is to honor the tradition of the Black press and the spirit of alt-weekly journalism with reporting that focuses on community, questions power structures, and prioritizes thoughtful engagement with our readers.”
Jackson started his own yearly mistletoe soiree in 2015 at The Metro Gallery called Dirty Christmas with a similarly eclectic mix of acts. He explains “I tried my best to spend the year looking for younger acts that I saw being active and giving strong performances to play Dirty Christmas so that it would be a mix of veterans and up and comers. Never really stuck to any particular genre. We’ve had almost anyone from The Lushpockets (2016) to Bobbi Rush (2017) to Bedlam Brass (2019) play.”
I had the pleasure of pitching a few ludacris questions to the pair in hopes of giving us all a bit of insight and a bearded chuckle or two.
Baltimore Fishbowl: In your experience do you find that people lean into the eggnog on these occasions as much as a regular Friday?
Emily Gordon: 100% – and thank you for the reminder to ask Pat Martin to put in order for “ALL THE EGG NOG.”
Eze Jackson: Lol….no. I actually don’t think we’ve had eggnog but people definitely let loose and drink a little more. It’s supposed to be a release from the year, the holiday season and all the holiday tension it brings.”
BFB: Do you play Bing Crosby or “Grandma Got Ran Over by a Reindeer”? Remixes?
EG: Bing Crosby, David Bowie and L.S.O. – “Peace On Earth / Little Drummer Boy” all the way!
EJ: I believe DJ Excel played a ‘Grandma Got Ran Over by a Reindeer’ remix when he DJ’d in 2017.
BFB: The point of these gigs seems to be about giving love, but do you ever get some grinches who wanna hear Amy Grant arranged for flute or something you don’t have in your arsenal?
EG: I don’t take requests as a rule but James Nasty is very accommodating and more often than not will play your song.
EJ: Thank God that has never happened.
BFB: Anyone ever requested U2’s “Angel of Harlem”? He mentions a Christmas tree at one point in the song.
EG: Never ever has anyone requested U2 at one of my Xmas parties.
EJ: There were always LOTS of Black people at Dirty Christmas so no U2.
BFB: Ya’ll ever get down with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra?
EG: Yes, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra are pretty extra and I appreciate that.
EJ: I have no clue who that is.
BFB: Run DMC has a great Christmas Jam. Steven Tyler does a version of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” that could, as the writers of Frasier once wrote: “peel the enamel off your teeth.” If you were put in charge as producer, what song would you most want to see them collaborate on?
EG: Run DMC and Steven Tyler? I would like to hear their take on “When I’m In A Car” from your Jazz Mind album.
EJ: Let It Snow” by Boyz II Men.
BFB: If someone’s grandmother actually gets run over by a reindeer, it’s of course awful and depressing, but what Christmas drink would you recommend to take the edge off for the remaining family members?
EJ: I would recommend a Prosecco Mint Julep.
BFB: Favorite TV holiday special?
EG: I am partial to this newish animated Netflix movie “Klaus,” and of course “Scrooged” with Bill Murray.
EJ: I’m always gonna advocate for “A Charlie Brown Christmas” if for nothing more than hearing “Christmas Time Is Here” again.
BFB: Have you ever seen the 1978 Chewbaca Christmas special?
EG: I missed that one.
EJ: No but it sounds insane lol.
BFB: Will you and Emily be crossing faders on some jams DJ Battle style?
EG: Neither of us are DJing this particular show but we will most definitely be losing it on the dancefloor when Rod Lee goes on.
EJ: No. I am not a DJ. I’ll be hosting and I think Emily will just be happy we got through this. Definitely gonna dance my pain away when Rod Lee rocks.
BFB: Anyone ever dressed like the dad from “A Christmas Story” or something more obscure?
EG: Not to my memory but ugly holiday sweaters are a common look.
EJ: We had a couple $100 ugly sweater contests. People made some very wild choices. One year I dressed as a drunk Santa. My Santa suit was intentionally dirty and I stumbled around bumping into people and cursing them out for being in my way.”
BFB: Which character of “A Christmas Story” is the most accurate representation of your soul’s true nature?
EG: The Leg.
EJ: Confession time: I’ve never seen it. It’s one of those movies I grew up being told was just for White people so I never watched it. I always nod and smile when people make a reference to it though. I know there’s a character named Ralphie and I guess he really liked Christmas or something.
Gordon and Jackson will be co-hosting “A Very Merry X Mass” Friday, Dec. 23, at The Metro Gallery with Rod Lee, Miss Kam, Naeem, Mowder Oyal, and James Nasty.