Christmas came early this year. Wonderfully, beautifully early. Thank you, DMX, for giving us all right at the beginning of the x-mas season an amazing cover of “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer.” He could have left it at the random clip from a couple of years ago (which is incredible btw! check DMX’s table beat skills!), but DMX understands how difficult this year has been and so gave us the gift that keeps on giving. He has also forced any self-respecting hip hop head to revaluate the Top Ten X-Mas Hip Hop Songs of all time, so the Committee for Hip Hop X-Mas Songs (henceforth referred to as CHHXMS) took on the challenge. After extensive research, much thought and careful debate, the ultimate list was completed. Let’s get to it:
10. “What You Want for Christmas” by Quad City DJ’s
This bit of x-mas cheer answers the question: “Why don’t we take ‘Come on Ride the Train’ & ‘Space Jam’ and combine them into a x-mas song? You never asked that question? You never ANSWERED that question? That’s why you’re not a Quad City DJ.
9. “Santa’s Got A Muthafuckin’ Uzi” by Mr. Lif
You know how it’s not exactly x-mas cheer but Stevie Wonder’s “One Little Christmas Tree” is part of the x-mas song canon as this nice metaphor for the smallest things being catalysts for change? Well, it’s apparent that Mr. Lif’s metaphor of the have and have nots deserves a similar honor. Plus Santa always gets off too easy with his consistent worldwide breaking and entering spree. Congrats, Mr. Lif, for exposing another side to the story. You’re number 9.
8. “Santa Claus Goes Straight to the Ghetto” by Snoop Dogg (Featuring Bad Azz, Daz Dillinger, Nate Dogg & Tray Deee)
This song makes the list almost on the strength of the video alone. How do we love thee, “Santa Claus Goes Straight to the Ghetto” video? Let us count the ways: 1)the entire crew flying around southern California in a six-four masquerading as Santa’s sleigh, 2)Snoop as Santa complete with blackened Santa hat and beard…nice statement, Snoop, 3)Daz sprinkling some sort of magic dust that allows a homeless man to receive a bottle of champagne (AFTER he ran out of his original bottle of alcohol), 4)obligatory Nate Dogg chorus complete with Nate swaying and singing with a choir. Even if you had never seen the video, it’s what you’d picture listening to the song, right?
7. “Cold Chillin’ X-Mas” by The Juice Crew
Wait! There’s a x-mas song that includes Big Daddy Kane, Roxanne Shanté & MC Shan? How is this not played across America every holiday season?! Why does that link not have millions of views?! Also, props to Kane for taking his line “get the job done” from this song, and a year later turning it into a Teddy Riley produced New Jack Swing hip hop hit.
6. “Christmas Rappin’” by Kurtis Blow
The disco beat has not aged well, and it’s a looooooong song. But props to to Kurtis for having the audacity to have his first single be Christmas themed. It has Kurtis exclaiming at the beginning of the song “Hold it now!” which has been sampled a bunch. Also mixing Santa and the Three Pigs (He was roly, he was poly, and I said, “Holy moly! / You got a lot of whiskers on your chinny chin chin) is impressive. The CHHXMS is mixed on if it’s good, but it is impressive.
5. “Deck Da Club” by Ying Yang Twins
The CHHXMS will not pretend that this is some sort of lyrical masterpiece, but not a lot of x-mas songs are. What we will declare is that this is pure x-mas fun. It’s an underrepresented theme. Everyone likes to have some fun in da club any time of the year, so why isn’t there more x-mas bangers for da club? Ying Yang Twins is here to fill the void in da club.
4. “Ghostface X-Mas” by Ghostface Killah
When 36 Chambers first dropped, not a lot of people had Ghost at the top of their Wu-Tang lists. After the Purple Tape dropped, he had risen to a nice complement to Rae. After 24 years, doesn’t Ghostface get the championship belt of Wu MCs just on longevity and consistency alone? Here is Ghost finishing off his 2008 album GhostDeini the Great with not exactly a hip hop carol as much as a detailed description of the holiday season with that classic Wu sound and Ghost lyricism. This can be played year round.
3. “Sleigh Ride” by TLC
The one song on the list that leans a bit more on the R&B side. Here’s the CHHXMS defense: there’s not one but two rap verses from Left Eye, it’s produced by Organized Noize (…and Pebbles, shhhhhh!), and it’s officially part of the Christmas song canon (a hard nut to crack). And it’s pure x-mas cheer…so much so the CHHXMS even excuses that “Jingle Bells / Batman smells” line. RIP Left Eye.
2. “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer” by DMX
The CHHXMS is not afraid to boldly claim that this is just pure genius (genius enough to drop right into the #2 position the year it debuts)! One of the beautiful aspects of hip hop is sampling old gems and making them into something new. What hip hop doesn’t do enough of? Covers! Look at jazz. Look at rock. Some of the best songs of those genres are covers, so why doesn’t hip hop do this more?
The CHHXMS would like to say: Yo, yo, yo, dawg. You made that your own!
Classic DMX ad libs + classic DMX gravelly voice + classic x-mas carol = classic x-mas hip hop song .
1. “Christmas in Hollis” by Run D.M.C
GOAT of x-mas hip hop songs. No links or explanations necessary.