People don’t usually associate hip-hop with the holly jolly holidays, but rappers have been cashin’ in on Christmas since 1979. Now, it’s difficult to take a thug rapper seriously who’s bustin’ flows about Santa Claus, but somehow, from the poignant to the ludicrous, these rappers manage to do it – in style. So, how is Santa’s big day celebrated in the hood? During the ‘80’s, rappers created feel-good mistletoe-y songs that underlined the harsh economic reality of living poor in urban neighborhoods. Many a rapper claimed to have no Christmas gifts under his tree!
As we hit the ‘90’s and 2000’s, hip-hop’s take on Christmas became more about deckin’ the club, and jumpin’ on the latest holiday film soundtrack. Still, economic straits remained a predominant theme for some rappers. Today, with only one week left ‘till Christmas, rap carols run the gamut from twisted to nostalgic. Hip-hop heads can blast these tinsel tunes to crunk them into the Christmas spirit. Let’s count down 10 best hip-hop holiday jingles of all time, beginning with the first five.
10. Bob Rivers – “What if Eminem Did Jingle Bells?” – 2002
You’d get a White Trash Christmas. This radio personality and Slim Shady parodist is probably the only person who can turn a drunk Ms. Claus into a “ho-ho-ho,” leave blood in the snow, deposit (ahem) “eggnog” in Santa’s wife’s lap, and roast Ol’ Nick’s nuts – right before calling him a fatty. Although not the most uplifting Christmas song ever, it’s worth a good laugh.
9. The Treacherous Three – “Beat Street Santa’s Rap” – 1984
The Treacherous Three (Kool Moe Dee, L.A. Sunshine and Special K) utilized vignette storytelling to give us a peek into the business of being Santa and making Christmas work on a welfare check. Kool Moe schools us to the game, “You think I’m getting presents made for free? / I got a pay them elves and ain’t nobody paying me.” And that’s why, ye rappers, you ain’t got no gifts!
8. Busta Rhymes ft. Jim Carey – “Grinch 2000” – 2000
Never thought I’d hear a hip-hop mash-up featuring Busta Rhymes and Jim Carey, but here it is! Busta spits hella clever lines, even calling the big green guy the “crazy lost cousin of Mr. Scrooge, Word to mother.” Awesome ending? When Jim gives a shout out to the west side of Whoville.
7. Ying Yang Twins – “Deck da Club” – 2008
What is Christmaswithout the Ying Yang Twins? (What is anything without the Ying Yang Twins?) This club banger is the perfect way to get crunk during the holidays! The beat is sick enough to dance to—and as for the lyrics? Well… let’s just say they feature these two goofs at their silliest. “Deck the club with piles of money. Fa-la-la-la-la.”
6. Westside Connection – “It’s the Holidaze” – 2002
Ice Cube, WC, and Mack 10 got us all crip-walkin’ under the mistletoe! This bouncy tune is the holiday’s Westsiiiiide! Smokin’ cush and eating candied yams. That’s how we do! The catchy hook will get this gangsta boogie all upin yo’ head. It’s a throw down for the club (and a hot jam, of course, from Ice Cube’s ghetto Christmas movie Friday After Next).
That’s my jam! Ice Cube took me straight back to college. Them dudes was straight crip-walkin’ at Christmas. And was that Kat Williams with a pimp hat in the video? I’m done. Well, if that didn’t get your Christmas crunk on, I don’t know what will. Watch right here for the top 5 hip-hop holiday jams, and see who made number one.