Like the Beatnuts once said about Christmas music, “No escaping this.” Okay, maybe the ‘Nuts weren’t talking ’bout the unholy 24-7 onslaught of cheery Xmas songs set upon your ear canals around this time of the year. But at least we can take solace in the fact that, contrary to popular belief, not all Christmas rap songs suck. In fact, there are quite a few that are not only generally curse-free and downright wholesome, but hold up as quality recordings. They NICE, yo. You might be one of those too cool for school Scrooges who deem all holiday cheers as cheesy or corny, but screw you, humbug. Here’s a gang of Christmas-themed rap tunes you don’t need your egg nogg crazy spiked to enjoy.
CLICK THE THUMBNAILS ABOVE TO CHECK ‘EM OUT
Kurtis Blow - "Christmas Rappin'" (Mercury, 1979)
Rap and the holidays go back like spinal discs and car seats. In fact, Blow’s old school standard was the first rap record on a major label. By gosh rap was so wholesome then. Who knew what a despicable monster it’d become?
Run-DMC - "Christmas In Hollis" (Profile, 1987)
Yeah, you hear it every December, but there’s a reason. It’s a classic that’s still coolin’ and chillin’ like a snowman after all these years.
OutKast - "Player's Ball" (LaFace Family Christmas version) (LaFace, 1993)
As detailed in ego trip’s Book of Rap Lists (which still makes a great stocking stuffer, BTW), the OG version of this ‘Kast classic was recorded for the LaFace Family Christmas LP and featured holiday imagery that was later replaced for the Southernplayalistic version.
Juice Crew All-Stars ft. Big Daddy Kane, Roxanne Shanté, MC Shan & Fly Ty - "Cold Chillin' Christmas" (Warner Bros., 1988)
Golden Era Juice Crew is the gift that gives year round. Marley Marl hooks up a classic Booker T. & the MGs sample and Kane, Shanté, Shan and even label co-owner Fly Ty let loose with the rhymes.
Kanye West ft. Cam'ron, Jim Jones, Vado, Cyhi Da Prynce, Pusha-T, Musiq Soulchild, Teyana Taylor & Big Sean- "Christmas In Harlem" (G.O.O.D., 2010)
Will a leather kilt will be under your tree this year? Oh, you know we love to kid the Kanye. But his uptown holiday single from a couple years back hits the right notes.
(Photo courtesy of the Internetz)
Sweet Tee - "Let the Jingle Bells Rock" (Profile, 1987)
What – you didn’t know Christmas went hip-hop? “Rocket In the Pocket” rocks the jingle bells every time.
The Cold Crew - "Rappin' Christmas" (Profile, 1982)
This early ’80s party rap actually sprinkles some Sugarhill and Kurtis Blow disses and a little “Message” style commentary to offset the festive groove and more traditional revelry.
The Ying Yang Twins - "Deck da Club"
Because strippers need love (and extra singles) on Xmas too. This one almost made the “Naughty” list, but for a booty shaking anthem it’s pretty tame.
Random (Mega Ran) - "Wishlist"
We could have chosen anything from Mega Ran’s A Very Random Christmas EP – on which every beat is sampled from the classic Vince Guaraldi Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack and every song is holiday-focused. But the introductory “Wishlist” best sets the tone.
Dana Dane - "Dana Dane Is Coming to Town" (Profile, 1987)
Dana Dane rhyming over Mountain’s “Long Red (Live)” and stabs from Chuck Brown’s “I Need Some Money” is holiday cheer exemplified.
Coke La Rock & Melle Mel - "Hello, Merry Christmas Baby" (2010)
Hip-hop’s first emcee drops verbals over a spirited enough re-work of Carla Thomas’ “Gee Whiz It’s Christmas” for his first and apparently only recorded track. Melle Mel with the assist on the second verse. Easy Mo Bee rumored to be on production.
Super Jay - "Santa's Rap Party" (Sound of New York USA, 1980)
All the early ’80s Peter Brown productions are basically interchangeable sloppy, formless jams. But charming ones. And what’s more charming than Santa and a couple of helpers rapping over a Harlem disco funk groove?
Ludacris - "Lucacrismas"
Never saw Fred Klaus. Don’t need to now.
(Props to Keith Terry for the upload)
Ghostface Killah - "Ghostface X-mas" (Def Jam, 2008)
A little egg nogg splashed with Hennessy is about as wild as Tony Starks’ Xmas gets. He’s too busy celebrating the season of sharing and delivering toys to tots.
Snoop Dogg ft. Tha Dogg Pound & Nate Dogg - "Santa Claus Goes Straight to the Ghetto" (Death Row, 1996)
Because gangstas get cheerful too on Xmas.
Audio Two - "A Christmas Rhyme" (MCM, 1986)
A holiday treat: a pre-”Top Billin’” Milk and Giz (the latter seriously channeling Jimmy Spicer) kicking story rhymes old school style.
Joey Bada$$ & Pro Era — “How To Rap A Present” Freestyle (2012)
Keeping tradition alive: Off the dome raps straight outta Brooklyn.