A Hip Hop & Culture Site

It’s the next edition of the reoccurring Must Not Sleep Rocks the Classics! These are episodes that MNS uses to take a look back at what many consider to be classic hip-hop albums. On this ep, we’re goin in deep on The Diary by Scarface. We have categories, discussions, debates, music, and a whole lot more. It’s your favorite podcast’s favorite podcast. (This ep is brought to you by the new meditation app No More Mind Tricks. Use the offer code MNS to get the first month free.)

(Don’t forget that you can listen & subscribe on iTunes or Google Play!)

The holidays are over, and the Must Not Sleep Podcast has returned from our break. “The State of the Union” is our rundown of hip hop in 2018. Last year’s topics to come out of Neil’s random generator (it’s a thing!):

  • Maybe our views on hip-hop right now? (10:30)
  • Kendrick winning the Pulitzer (19:00)
  • Cardi B…in general (30:15)
  • Ye’s fixation on Trump (38:55)
  • XXXTentacion & Black pain (40:20)
  • Our favorite albums of 2018 (48:00)

You’re gonna like this one. It’s your favorite podcast’s favorite podcast, and we’re back!

(Don’t forget that you can listen & subscribe on iTunes or Google Play!)

You know we had to do a remix, right? It’s been a year since the original Must Not Sleep Top 10 X-Mas Hip Hop Songs was first constructed and X-Mas cheer was bestowed upon ye (not ye, ye). The problem with making a top anything list? You have to leave things out. And when the CHHXMS (that is the Committee for Hip Hop X-Mas Songs in case you forgot) was whittling down to the top 10, it knew there would be some things omitted that needed to be mentioned for one reason or another. So we’ve remixed the list to give you a host of other entertaining X-Mas songs (or songs sort of related to X-Mas in some way) and placed them into vigorously researched and considered categories. Let’s explain:

Honorable Mentions (almost made the Top 10 but just missed):

  • “Merry Muthafuckin’ X-mas” by Eazy-E (Featuring Rudy Ray Moore, Atban Klann [later known as The Black Eyed Peas], Menajahtwa & Buc Fifty)
    Not because it’s good. It’s an Honorable Mention because it was ever made in the first place and is unintentional comedy at its finest (RIP, E, but we’re not laughing WITH you on this one). Imagine you were a thirteen year old boy, you’re geeked up on Everlasting Gobstoppers with a group of your friends (You’re thirteen! Let’s just stick to sugar rushes.), and somehow you all win a prize of one day in a music studio to create a X-Mas rap. Rudy Ray Moore as Dolomite for an intro? St. Dick to replace St. Nick? Random fart noises? Reindeer Porn? will.i.am. (as a very young Will 1X) making strange Jewish allusions? Yes! All of that sounds like a great idea says your thirteen year old self. And let’s make a video too!!! It’ll go down in hisssssstoooooryyyyyyyy.
  • “Christmas In Da Ghetto”
    Which one? A very good question. You could choose Master P (Featuring C-Murder), O.F.T.B. (on the Christmas on Death Row album), or Juellz Santana (Featuring Rab). But same titles (with same spelling btw) means none of them made the cut. The CHHXMS demands originality!
  • “Santa Baby” by Run-D.M.C., Mase, Diddy, Snoop Dogg, Salt-N-Pepa, Onyx and Keith Murray
    The CHHXMS appreciated the sample from “Nappy Heads (Remix)” by the Fugees which coincidentally sampled, amongst other songs, the horns from “Santa’s Birthday” by The Caroleer Singers & Orchestra; so this song is extra X-Masy…like six degrees of Kevin Bacon X-Masy); but it’s relegated to Honorable Mentions because of the Run-D.M.C. inclusion. They already have a top 10 song. You don’t get two! exclaims the CHHXMS.
  • “Christmas in Harlem” Kanye West (Featuring Prynce Cy Hi & Teyana Taylor)
    The CHHXMS took a lot of heat for leaving Yeezus off the list last year (that heat would probably be ice cold this year, huh?), and it’s a nice jazzy little X-Mas jingle. This is simply a question of math. Kanye raps for about 40 seconds. Prince Cy Hi raps for < that. The rest of the 4 minute song? Teyana Taylor singing a chorus that gets really monotonous after the 6th time or so. Plus, we already included 1 R&B heavy song on the official list…and it’s > this one. It’s all mathematics.

DisHonorable Mention (only bringing up to begin a movement to erase said artist from hip-hop history):

  • “12 J’s of Christmas” by Afroman
    The CHHXMS honestly never even knew this song existed until extensive research was completed, but any artist responsible for “Because I Got High” becoming a “hit” deserves a dishonorable mention. That’s right. CHHXMS intentionally omitted links. As a society, let’s all agree “High” was a low point for hip-hop humanity and move on.

Good (maybe even Great) Songs That Just Don’t Bring X-Mas Cheer and May Not Even Be X-Mas Songs (that’s self-explanatory, right?):

  • “Player’s Ball” by Outkast
    One of the best to ever do it. The CHHXMS understands this was originally on the A LaFace Family Christmas album; however, being on a X-Mas compilation, a double entendre of “ho, ho, ho” along with a few random metaphorical uses of snow, and a subtle use of sleigh bells does not a X-Mas song make. This song has much more in common with Dave Chappelle than Santa Claus. BUT, it is a great song.
  •  “A Christmas Fucking Miracle” by Run the Jewels
    What a beat (which you can say about pretty much any El-P beat)! Fantastic use of the sleigh bells (found all over ’90s hip-hop as seen above), it has “Christmas” in the title, and the video is dope! Seriously, there’s a think piece dying to be written just about the vintage ’80s X-Mas sweaters and mall portrait poses, but the lyrics themselves don’t have a lot to do with the holiday (read: nothing).
  • “If I Was Santa Claus” by Atmosphere
    Great use of “O Holy Night” in the beat, and it’s a nice, thought provoking song completing the thought “If I was” throughout. Just good hip hop and evidence that there’s so much in the “underground” that gets overlooked. But, a X-Mas carol it is not.
  • “Millie Pulled a Pistol on Santa” by De La Soul
    The CHHXMS is unsure of whether De La Soul gets their proper due as MC’s. They’re clearly recognized for being one of the great groups in hip hop, but their lyricism, storytelling and command of a stage somehow seems to be undersold when discussing the greats. Anyway, we have here an amazingly well crafted and tragically sad story of an abused child who gets revenge on her abusive father by shooting him as he’s working as a mall Santa. It was a bit too bleak for the top 10, but the CHHXMS would lose all legitimacy if this song wasn’t mentioned. (Btw, Atmosphere coincidentally decided to tell the rest of Millie’s story, and [Spoiler Alert!] it doesn’t end well for Millie.)


There you have it. If you’re tired of the same old X-Mas carols played every year, MNS has provided you now with TWO posts full of good, great, and even horrible hip-hop X-Mas songs. You’re welcome!


We like Lauryn Hill. We really do. But if you listened to our ep on her, you know that there are some things she does that we can’t let slide. And then this happened:

L-Boogie 1.5

L-Boogie 1.25

Ms. Hill, fool us once shame on you. Fool us…how many times has it been now? We’re not sure, but it’s all easily explainable:

L-Boogie 2

It was the curfew! Who could possibly know Europe would be in a different time zone?! See, all easily explainable.

L-Boogie 3

If someone finds that Madlibs excuse doc, please send it our way.

Look, we’re not saying that we’re saving the country one conversation about emojis at a time. We just don’t see anyone else out there asking the difficult questions. Case in point:

Text Convo 1

I have a confession to make. Before Neil asked me about the white emojis, I never really paid attention to the shades getting lighter. I just assumed they were lighter shades for POC and chose the one that matched me best. Why?:

Text Convo 2

Btw, white allies, don’t do that ^. I hate to sound like the NRA but stay your lane (may I never repeat another thing the NRA says). Continuing below, “supremacisty” was definitely on purpose:

Text Convo 3

Good job, Neil. Asking the tough questions and slyly referencing a past MNS blog post.

Text Convo 4

And we did post it. Problem solved. We ask the tough questions and put them out into the world. Feel free to use this post as a conversation starter in your upcoming family holiday discussions. What could go wrong?

It’s your favorite podcast’s favorite podcast! Neil and Erik explore Vince Staple’s album FM! on this ep. Before that though, we answer the question everyone’s been asking: What exactly was Jermaine Dupri (11:20) thinking during his TMZ interview? Then we give our first impressions of FM! (23:20) before exploring Vince’s seemingly random lyrics and beats (34:10). Also, you should really watch Vince’s video for “FUN!” because he has a lot to say and we talk about it (51:10). Don’t sleep on this ep!

Links to things mentioned in this Ep:

(Don’t forget that you can listen & subscribe on iTunes or Google Play!)

And we’re back! It’s been a long time, but Neil and Erik return with a discussion on Lupe Fiasco’s DROGAS WAVE and so much more. If you haven’t been down this particular internet wormhole, we provide some background to Lupe’s concept album (21:55). Erik compares Lupe to the Reddit age and shows like Westworld (34:00) while Neil compares Lupe to Eminem and The Force (41:35). We finish off discussing concept albums’ place in hip-hop (1:07:30). It’s a lot, but being down with the fish takes some time to explain.

(Don’t forget that you can listen & subscribe on iTunes or Google Play!)

This Ep is Part III of Must Not Sleep’s epic trilogy also known as Neil & Erik had a lot to say on this one. If you’ve listened to the other two parts, you know that this one is all about Lauryn Hill and the piece she wrote on medium.com a couple of weeks ago. We begin with some background on Robert Glasper’s interview, the importance of his sunglasses, and his accusations against Lauryn Hill (7:15). From there is a deep dive on Ms. Hill’s piece beginning with her decision to compare herself to Harriet Tubman (14:40). We also give our theories & opinions (30:45) on the L-Boogie rumors that her fellow performers over the years were not allowed to look her in the eye (something she denies) and instructed to call her “Ms. Hill” (something she confirms). We finish with some similarities between Lauryn Hill & Michael Jackson (43:35) and the importance of Black artists (& Black people) asserting personhood (50:50). There’s a lot in this one, and we still make sure to provide you some Must Not Sleep items (1:05:20). Action packed!

Important links for this Ep:

(Don’t forget that you can listen & subscribe on iTunes or Google Play!)