Theophilus London “Purple Snowflakes (Marvin Gaye Cover)”

To be a fan of Theophilus London, one has to be used to expecting the unexpected, the alt-rapper’s stylistic randomness (his beats of choice being a varied platter that includes electro, Top 40 pop, ’80’s funk, indie and everything in between) and “sometimes I rhyme fast/ sometimes I sing sweet” vocal stamps nearly guaranteeing an entirely different listening experience from song to song.

So the fact that he would offer, as a Xmas treat for fans, an all-sung remake of a rare Marvin Gaye holiday number shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise.

Marvin originally recorded “Purple Snowflakes” in 1964, though the song, a smoove wintertime romancer in which he promises to stay “cozy and warm” with his boo “until summer flowers bloom”, wouldn’t officially be released until the ’90’s (Interesting side note: “Purple”‘s vocal melody and backing instrumental would premiere to the public first on Gaye’s Top 40 1965 hit “Pretty Little Baby”).

For his cover, London, who previously nodded to Gaye on the title cut of his 2010 mixtape I Want You, mostly keeps things straight-forward, but the dope vibe resulting from his indie hip-hop cool meshed with a fabulous re-production of the original’s psychedelic soul swirl should serve as a welcome detour from the usual holiday-themed playlist.

Stream/ DL “Purple Snowflakes” below, then check out a performance clip of the ditty over at T Magazine.