For as many ill conceived hip-hop Christmas cuts that have been produced over the years, there have been as least as many that were great. While they're not all necessarily fun, feel good songs meant to get you in the spirit of the season, and some deal directly with the ills of the holiday or criticize the commercial aspects of it, they're all thought-provoking and thoughtful and definitely worth hearing. Keep reading for a rundown of the ten best hip-hop Christmas songs.
10. Cross Movement - "Different Christmas" Christian rap is probably the most over-looked sub-genre of hip hop, but it's hard to think of more logical place to find good hip-hop tunes for the season. On Gift Rap, one of the most popular Christian acts, Cross Movement, offers a track in remembrance of those who are no longer with us, something everyone can relate to. The beat has a nice guitar riff, along with relaxed cadenced rhymes about lost love ones. This one is very well composed.
9. Ras Kas - "Jack Frost II" The second version this song is more memorable than the original, simply for the lyrical ability of Ras Kas and the original concept. In the intro, the sample of "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas" serves as a sarcastic slap to those who celebrate Christmas. Pulling no punches, the California MC offers his thoughts of the origin of holiday saying, "scientifically put, it's the winter solstice/You a slave if you celebrate Christmas." This cut, which takes on Christmas from different perspective, is clearly not for everyone.
8. Ghostface Christmas - "Ghostface Christmas" Ghostface Killah, Wu-Tang's master of rhyme styles, is a legendary story teller, so naturally, he easily flows on the concept of Christmas. You can almost picture Ghost standing around a fire telling this tale to an enthusiastic crowd. The MC is always vivid in his descriptions, and here he colors the rhyme with descriptions of the smells of Christmas, as he raps about Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, Santa Claus and his wardrobe for Christmas Eve.
7. Run DMC & the Christmas Allstars - "Santa Baby" Run DMC released this holiday treat in 1997 on A Very Special Christmas, which benefited the Special Olympics. The trio takes the lead on a tranquil hip-hop beat with a line-up of stars (Mase, Puff Daddy, Salt N Pepa, Snoop, Onyx and Keith Murray) in tow who all deliver surprisingly good performances. Contrasting the unhurried beat, they each rap about the ills of the holidays for the less fortunate.
6. TLC - "All I Want for Christmas" In 1993, the A La Face Family Christmas album featured this classic jazzy track from the trio of T-Boz, Chilli and Left Eye. The piano-based beat has a New Jack swing feel to it. T-Boz sings most of the cut, with harmonies and ad-libs by Chilli, and Left Eye also spits on the track. Refreshingly, this song was an original, as opposed to the cover tracks you often hear on these types of seasonal compilations.
5. Kurtis Blow - "Christmas Rappin" This is the song that launched Kurtis Blow's professional career. With a funky disco beat, the song sounds a lot like Sugar Hill Gang's "Rapper's Delight," as Blow offers up a reading of "The Night Before Christmas" before veering off into non-Christmas related rhymes and crowd hyping.
4. OutKast - "Player's Ball" (Original Christmas Version) This classic track was also featured on the A La Face Family Christmas album, and it was originally stuffed with Christmas references, from lines like, "You thought I'd break my neck/To help y'all deck the halls," to the original chorus, "Now I'm here to tell you there's a better way/When the player's ball is happening on Christmas day." A solid song from two of the slickest MCs ever.
3. Run DMC - "Christmas in Hollis" This Christmas hip-hop jewel dropped in 1987 on the first volume of A Very Special Christmas. Jam Master Jay cuts it up, while Run -- backed by a funky horn sample from Clarence Carter's "Back Door Santa" -- rhymes about returning Santa's wallet to find a big reward under the tree, and DMC drops some rhymes about his mom's cooking.
2. Eazy - E - "Merry Muthafuckin Christmas" This is pure unadulterated gangster rap from Eazy-E. The song runs through gangsta versions of Eazy's favorite Christmas songs like, "All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth" and "Jingle Bells." You'll be laughing by the time you arrive at the end with the collective singing of "Merry Muthafuckin' Christmas."
1. The Dogg Pound - "Santa Claus Goes Straight to the Ghetto" This song was the lead single off of Christmas on Deathrow in 1996. This was recorded during a time when the Dogg Pound was fresh off dropping Dogg Food. Featuring a young, vibrant Snoop Dogg and soulfully assisted by Nate Dogg, the song gives off the G-Funk vibe as it cleverly conveys a portrait of Christmas in the ghetto.
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