Ah, the holidays. Nothing fills us with more with Christmas cheer than singing those traditional Christmas carols. What about Hip Hop carols? Many Christmas hip hop songs are equally as memorable as the others that we know well. With a plethora of songs to choose from, digging through massive pile released a rare feeling of nostalgia. This list of Christmas hip hop gems are all from the past, however, they are still heard today. Ironic? I think not.
"Christmas Rappin" - Kurtis Blow
Since he’s the first rapper to have a certified gold single, the first rapper to be signed by a major label, and the first rapper to perform overseas, it’s no surprise that the Bronx born Kurtis Walker was named the King of Rap. Mr. Blow also started a fledging tradition in 1979, when he recorded the very first Hip Hop Christmas song, “Christmas Rappin”. With a memorable beat that’s been sampled countless times, “Christmas Rappin” represented originality to the core. The authentic sound of it makes it ageless.
"Christmas in Hollis" - Run-D.M.C.
1987’s “Christmas in Hollis” was another massive hit for New York hip hop kings RUN DMC. This was arguably one of the best Christmas hip hop records ever recorded. This danceable tune, samples Clarence Carter’s 1968 classic, “Backdoor Santa” and follows Joseph “Run” Simmons and Daryl D.M.C. McDaniels rapping about Christmas in their Hollis, Queens, neighborhood. This song has many memorable lyrics, and is a constant staple on every hip hop lover’s Christmas play list.
"Santa's Rap" - The Treacherous 3
Taken from the 1984 cult classic film "Beat Street”, The Treacherous 3’s “Christmas Rap” was hilarity at its finest. This classic gem tells the individual tales of how the Bronx hip hop pioneers (Kool Moe Dee, LA Sunshine, and Special K) disapproved of Santa for putting mundane gifts under the tree. Something that many can relate to. “Christmas Rap” also features beat boxing from fellow Hip Hop pioneer, Doug E. Fresh.
"Cold Chillin Christmas" - The Juice Crew
Adding to the list of hip hop heavyweights is Marley Marl's Juice Crew. Together, these folks were a lyrical force to be reckoned with, sepeparetly, they were slightly underrated. Comprised of Roxanne Shanté, Big Daddy Kane, Masta Ace, Craig G, Kool G. Rap, and MC Shan, the Juice Crew released some of the most memorable, yet rawest raps in their day. In 1998’s "Cold Chillin Christmas", the Crew definitely lived up to their name.
“Sleigh Ride” -TLC
This song could also fall into the pop and R&B categories also. Flanked by the bubbly, skilled flows of the late Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, the lyrical prowess of Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins and Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas remain pristine. Produced by the incomparable team of LA Reid and Kenneth "Babyface Edmonds", The power trio shined throughout this 1992 revamp of the Leroy Anderson classical masterpiece. A simple song about a person who wants to ride in a sleigh on a winter's day with a special someone never sounded so good.
"Christmas in Harlem" - Kanye West
What’s a song list without Kanye? The always verbal Mr. West is known for many other things lately, but one can‘t argue that he makes good music every once in a while. The Hit-boy produced "Christmas in Harlem" was so necessary that it had two different versions. The track delivered an old school feel, and featured Teyana Taylor on the hook. Dipset MCs Cam'ron, Jim Jones and Vado also joined in, along with Pusha T and Big Sean. The soulful nearly seven-minute track features each of the artists giving a different take on the holidays. Neo-soul artist Musiq Soulchild, Cyhi da Prynce also appear.
Rev Run DMC & the Christmas All-stars - "Santa Baby"
He’s so good that he had to appear on my list twice. The year was 1997. Joseph "Run" Simmons rechristened as Rev Run, with the help of , Ma$e, Diddy then known as Puff Daddy, Snoop Dogg , Salt-N-Pepa, Onyx and Keith Murray introduced their version of “Santa Baby". This holiday staple was originally recorded by the legendary Eartha Kitt with Henri René and his orchestra .Released on 1997’s A Very Special Christmas, this holiday benefited the Special Olympics. The all star cast deliver melodic narrations of their own harsh realities of the holidays intertwined with those of the less fortunate. The catchy hook sang by Run’s wife Justine Simmons.
"Santa Claus Goes Straight to the Ghetto" - Snoop Dogg ft. Daz Dillinger and Nate Dogg
What a cool perspective on a James Brown Classic. Taken from 1996’s Christmas on Death Row, “Santa Claus Goes Straight to the Ghetto” is narrated as if it were a Christmas hood film. The combination of the late Nate Dogg’s voice on the hook, and Snoop’s laid back delivery create a sound like no other. The lyrics feature some vulgarity, but Snoop’s skills along with the rhythmic beat that he produced himself, still make it listenable. Danceable also. Death Row artists Tray Deee and Bad Azz also appear.
What are some of your favorite Christmas Hip Hop Songs?