It’s that time of the year again when Chris Rea is driving a seemingly endless road to home, British glamrockers Mud are feeling lonely and Mariah Carey wants only you under her tree. While the last of those three is updating her hit by presenting her backside as a treat to an underage boy you may wish for some boombap to accompany the merriment this year. Don’t worry, TRU got you covered.
10. Busta Rhymes & Jim Carrey – You’re a Mean One Mr. Grinch
Busta dropped by to supply a track to the live-action adaptation of Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas for which Jim Carrey joined him, completely in-character. Some suit at Universal probably thought they’d need some rap on the soundtrack to make this kid flick cool or edgier, a marketing tactic straight out of the 90s playbook and wholly out of place for a film without even the flimsiest connenction to hiph-op culture. Against all odds, Busta still manages to make it work though. Give that man a hand.
9. Ludacris – Ludacrismas
Anybody remember Fred Claus? Me neither, and let’s try to keep it that way. But Luda’s addition to the soundtrack sported some knocking drums and jingling bells for him to drop his signature flow over and deliver some catchy Yuletide rhymes.
8. Kurtis Blow – Christmas Rappin’
The album cover might be incredibly pause-worthy in a contemporary light and could possibly get a “c’mon son” from even James Todd Smith, but that doesn’t make Kurtis Blow any less of a pioneer of rap. Not only was he one of the very first real stars of the fledgling rap genre, he also gave it it’s first Christmas song. Which was also the very first rap song released on a major label (Mercury). He struck rich soil, and there’s a good chance we wouldn’t even be making this list if it weren’t for him.
7. Big Daddy Kane, Roxanna Shante & Fly Ty – Cold Chillin’ Christmas
The Juice Crew reigned supreme in this era of rap, so it’s only natural they rocked a track to bump during those long December nights as well. Who knew Christmas could sound so hardcore?
6. Kanye West Ft. Cam’Ron, Jim Jones, Vado, Cyhi Da Prince, Pusha T, Musiq Soulchild, Teyana Taylor & Big Sean – Christmas In Harlem
The last song in Kanye’s G.O.O.D. Music Friday series gathered an all-star cast to wish you a happy holiday. Plenty socks got hit with the album he released in the final month of 2010 but this track was a freebie for the fans. Don’t even expect a tongue-in-cheek affair, the title straight up tells you what you can expect.
5. Jim Jones – Ballin’ On X-Mas
That other Christmas project Jim Jones worked on earlier though, that one has some balls-to-the-wall craziness going on. The shallowness of Ballin’ On X-Mas might make you stop in your tracks and shake your head at the blatant commercialization of the Holiday but take a breath, start taking it a lot less serious and the allow yourself to listen for a bit. This thing is hilarious. And spreading cheer is what the holidays are all about, right?
4. Eazy-E – Merry Muthaphukkin Christmas
I know I said the Juice Crew sounded hardcore with their Christmas track. I take it back. THIS is HARDCORE. Also, hilarious. Just make sure to keep it out of ear’s reach of the littlest ones running around the Christmas tree. Or the oldest ones. Or those that might feel machine-gun fire and pimping are out of place on a family holiday. You know what? Just buy some headphones.
3. De La Soul – Simply
Strictly speaking, it’s technically not even a Christmas song. But when your gonna lift the melody from Paul McCartney’s ‘Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time‘ you know every single person will associate the song with the smell of pine trees and hot chocolate. Leave it to De La Soul to create a perfect December rap song fir for the whole family without sounding corny. This one you can easily slip into your dinner playlist to still have some boombap on Christmas eve and that ain’t easy to pull off.
2. Run DMC – Christmas in Hollis
A lot of musicians release a Christmas song, but how many create the elusive Christmas Classic? That one track you’ll hear again, every single year, delivering an annual royalty check even if you never perform a single concert or release a single track ever again? It’s the gift that keeps on giving when you’re a retired musician, but if it were easy to obtain you’d have people working on Christmas tracks all year round. Hip-hop has it’s own pine-tinged evergreens and Run DMC’s is the greenest of all. No Christmas party is complete without it.
1. Snoop Doggy Dogg, Daz Dillinger, Nate Dogg, Bad Azz, & Tray Dee – Santa Claus Goes Straight To The Ghetto
The one that takes the cake though, is the Death Row reworking of the James Brown Christmad classic. Retaining the funk and atmosphere of the original but adding in some lyrics by these Doggs in the peak of the Death Row era might’ve seemed like a jarring move at first, especially when you consider it came in a sleeve where the prisoner strapped in an electric chair Death Row used as their logo had a Santa suit on, but as soon as you hear Nate Dogg croon that hook you just want to ride along. On a tricked-out sleigh with hydraulics, that is. Santa Claus is coming straight to the ghettooooo…