Jean Grae Picks Christmas Sweaters For Talib Kweli, Sean Price and Pharoahe Monch

Jean Grae

Editor's note: In Tweets is Watching, Phillip Mlynar asks local artists questions based solely on the contents of their Twitter timeline.

Jean Grae is one of the world's most talented twitterers. When not lighting up her timeline with talk about Christmas sweaters, the Great Yam Debacle and the folly of the many impending apocalypses, she's readying up her assault on 2013: January should see the release of her Gotham Down album, Cake Or Death should follow later in the year, and she's also filming the Life With Jeannie sitcom. Over early evening libations at Mission Dolores bar, we asked her to explain away her timeline, including the truth behind the very important Legend of CatBoar.

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You've been tweeting a lot about Christmas sweaters lately.
I have discovered that I have a great love for really horrible Christmas sweaters and sweatshirts. I've always been a fan of thrift stores; I was raised a block away from an amazing thrift store and my mom pretty much shopped for our whole closet there. My mom was pretty much a snazzy dresser. She had a great sense of style then and it still translates now. She moved to South Africa and left her closet with all this great shit in it. For Christmas sweaters, I bought about 10 of them in the past two weeks. Some of them are horrendous, like with gold ornaments on them -- it's probably nothing I wouldn't have worn about five years ago. And people loved my sweater last night.

What's the most garish Christmas sweater you picked up?
It's one that's got a lot of things on it, like a whole Christmas montage. There's elves making presents and it goes around and they're putting the presents on a conveyor belt and Santa's finally taking the presents off it at the end. And it's got a lot of gold in it.

Is there a cut-off date for wearing Christmas sweaters?
No. There is not a cut-off date. I would like to bring them around in summer. I may transform some of them into other things: Make one sleeveless, make a skirt, I could do that.

Sean Price also performed last night. What sort of Christmas sweater would you like to see him in?
Sean Price would probably do a grinch shirt, but I would not like to see him in a grinch shirt. A touching Rudolph scene would be nice, like Rudolph kinda being shunned and there's Donner and Blitzen coming in trying to make it okay.

And Pharoahe Monch?
I would put Pharoahe in anything really shiny and with a lot of shit on it. Anything gold. [Motions to giant red bows behind the bar] I saw something like that giant ribbon, I think he'd look good in a big bow.

What about Talib Kweli?
We were remarking how Kweli had a lot of clothes on last night. I saw a picture of him earlier in the week doing a show and I made a comment on the picture: Seriously, what is it rappers, I know 'cause I'm on stage and it's never fuckin' cold up there! Why? Why the scarf, the vest, the coat, the hat, the glasses? You're either really cold or in the witness protection program. So I would like to see Kweli in just a sweater vest. [Pauses] See, now I'm just designing with him in mind. A bright green wool sweater vest and then a red tree on the back that lights up.

Dressing rappers could be a new side project.
Put rappers in clothes! You could do paper doll cut-outs that you could mix and match. I would buy that. I might be the only person who'd buy that.

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