Christmas music has proven powerful enough to reach all the way from the bass-baritone singer Bing Crosby to the high-pitch vocals of The Chipmunks, and beyond. No genre is without its Christmas discography, Hip-Hop included.
Rap’s take on the 25th of December is just as diverse as anything else explored in the music too. Therefore, in order to show some of the different perspectives on this widely-recognized holiday, AllHipHop.com has come up with a list of the 10 Most Memorable Hip-Hop Christmas songs.
So even if “White Christmas” is the most successful holiday song to date, there’s nothing that says any of these following rap songs are incapable of connecting with listeners the same way Mr. Crosby’s iconic classic does. Because as life has proven, there is much more to Christmas than just glistening tree tops and the sound of sleigh bells in the snow.
10). “Deck Da Club” by the Ying Yang Twins: This song is pretty ridiculous, but the fun that the Ying Yang Twins had recording this can clearly be heard. So for what it’s worth, Kaine and D-Roc both deserve props for bringing Christmas cheer to gentlemen’s clubs. And while it is definitely a take on “Deck the Halls” that its authors never imagined, it still creates a yuletide atmosphere. Although it’s safe to say that it’s best suited for people who prefer stripper poles to mistletoes.
9). “The Christmas Song” by David Banner feat. Marcus and Sky Keeton: Released on his second solo album, which dropped on December 23, 2003, Mississippi rapper David Banner included the timely record, “The Christmas Song.” In this instance though, it was more about raising awareness than spreading holiday joy as Banner goes in on the “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” instrumental. The hook to the song goes, “It’s wintertime and we still cannot find a job / We fill out applications but you treat us like we’re slobs / So we rob and we steal, we’re just tryna get a meal / Cause it’s Christmas time and we’re broke again.”
8). “Cold Chillin’ Christmas” by the Juice Crew: While this can’t compete with “The Symphony” (but then again, what really can?), this posse cut finds the New York City Hip-Hop collective dropping a solid seasonal rap. Given the quality of emcees rocking the mic, there are plenty of great lines. The best one though is when Roxanne Shanté ends her verse by referencing Eartha Kitt’s “Santa Baby.”
7). “Santa Claus Goes Straight to the Ghetto” by Snoop Dogg et al: Similar to the Death Row logo, the album cover for Christmas on Death Row depicts a hooded person strapped to an electric chair. But the fact that the person is in a Santa suit and that the album was for charity does bring a holiday vibe to the unsettling image. Additionally, the project is actually more new jack soul than rap. However, the highlight is still the Hip-Hop record, “Santa Claus Goes Straight to the Ghetto.” It may sound like just a novelty at first, but records with Snoop and Daz rapping and/or Nate Dogg (R.I.P.) on the hook aren’t bad. This song is no exception.
6). “Ludacrismas” by Ludacris: While Fred Claus was
equally almost as panned as the Star Wars Holiday Special, a silver lining in the former is that it did provide audiences with “Ludacrismas,” a fun holiday rap courtesy of Ludacris. Interestingly enough though, the film didn’t appear on the movie soundtrack. According to a statement from Luda back in ’08, “They asked me at the eleventh hour to make that song, so the soundtrack was already turned in.” Fortunately, the song found an audience and it is now a Hip-Hop holiday standard.
5). “Christmas in Harlem” by Kanye West et al: Before Hit-Boy produced “N****s in Paris,” he crafted the beat for “Christmas in Harlem.” And with that, Kanye West, his G.O.O.D. music team, Dipset, and others put together the best Christmas rap song in recent memory. From Kanye talking about holiday season sex to Jim Jones discussing holiday shopping and everything else around it, it’s certainly an eclectic input of subject matter from a large number of people. However, Teyana Taylor brings it all together very smoothy via her outstanding vocals put to the melody of “Strawberry Letter 23.”
4). “Christmas Rap” by the Treacherous 3: One of the most memorable scenes in 1984’s Beat Street is when Kenny goes to DJ Kool Herc’s club, The Burning Spear, and presents the Treacherous Three, Doug E. Fresh, and the Magnificent Force in a Christmas skit. Given the fact that this scene is still talked about almost 30 years later, the audience reaction to it has clearly been just as positive as the one from the crowd in the movie. “Alright you people get ready to cheer for the Christmas show at The Burning Spear.”
3). “Player’s Ball” by OutKast: In 1993, on the LaFace Family Christmas Album, OutKast’s made their first outing on their own two with “Player’s Ball.” In an unconventional move, the duo made a holiday song about how Christmas is hardly recognized in the hood. But between Big Boi “gettin’ tipsy off the nog’gen” and Andre 3000 saying how he “gots no snowy weather,” the record was still able to represent the season (and in a way that it had never been before). It is this ability to break the mold, which they’ve also done many times since, that has made OutKast one of rap’s best acts ever.
2). “Christmas Rappin’” by Kurtis Blow: Kurtis Blow’s “Christmas Rappin’” became a hit in 1979 when two former Billboard writers did a rap-take on “The Night Before Christmas.” They approached Kurtis’ manager, the legendary Russell Simmons, with the record who also played a pivotal role in getting “Christmas Rappin’” made. The song was a smash and made Kurtis Blow Hip-Hop’s first solo success story. It helped him become the first rapper to ever sign with a major label. Just musically, it has held up well over time too. It was even sampled in 1997 for Next’s platinum-single “Too Close.”
1). “Christmas in Hollis” by Run-D.M.C.: Hands down, this Christmas rap song is the GOAT. The song starts with Run finding a million dollars in Santa’s wallet and trying to return it. Then D.M.C. brings up Holiday home cooking and the comforts of common Christmas traditions like lights, eggnog, and a yule log. Produced by the group themselves and Rick Rubin, the song has not surprisingly remained a popular holiday tune. It even reached number 78 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs in 2000, thirteen years after its initial release. AllHipHop.com co-founder Chuck Creekmur explained the song best when he simply described it as, “eternally dope.”
This songs are dope, but just didn’t quite make the list.
“Dana Dane Is Coming To Town” by Dana Dane
Dana Dane has given us a few hits, but this is one oldie but goodie. When Hip-Hop and Christmas meant happy songs.
“Let The Jingle Bells Rock” by Sweet Tee
Back in the day female rappers were much more plentiful. Sweet Tee recorded this jam for Profile Records in the 80’s. Kinda forgotten, lets give it new life…because Christmas has definitely gone Hip-Hop.
“Bad Santa Intro” by Jim Jones
Nice melody with this Christmas song by Mr. Jim Jones. Uptown stays kickin’ it for St. Nick.
Merry Muthaf***in’ Xmas by Eazy-E
This is one for the G’z as the late Eazy-E talks about shooting up Christmas, having sex under the mistletoe and even eating chitlins with the fam.
“Millie Pulled A Pistol On Santa Claus” by De La Soul
This may be the deepest Christmas record ever. Thanks, De La.
Happy Holidays to everyone- whether you are celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, etc.!
What do you think of this list of Holiday Hip-Hop? Let us know in the comments section!