The premise of “Rapsittie Street Kids” is pretty simple. A young girl named Nicole (Paige O’Hara) is given a teddy bear by a classmate, the rapping and rhyming Ricky (Walter Emanuel Jones). Due to the differences in their class and her stuck-up attitude, Nicole throws the gift away, thinking that it’s not expensive enough for her. However, she has a change of heart when she discovers a letter Ricky wrote to Santa Claus, explaining that he wanted to give her the bear because his deceased mother gave it to him. Realizing the importance of his gift, Nicole enlists the help of her friend Lenee (Jodi Benson) and Ricky’s friend Smithy (Eddie Driscoll) to get it back.
Pretty standard stuff for a Christmas special, but it isn’t the actual story that has given the film the reputation it carries. Its terrible CGI animation was pretty bad even for 2002 – keep in mind that “Ice Age” and “Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie” were released that same year. The way the characters’ mouths never sync up to their dialogue, the stock assets used to decorate scenes, and the clunky way the characters move, are memorable for all the wrong reasons. While the animation is often the most mocked aspect of the film, there are plenty of other things about it that just don’t work: a grating and stereotypical script, bizarre voice-acting decisions, and bad musical numbers, just to name a few. The way these elements come together, though, is what makes it such a memorable experience.