On this day in Hip Hop history, Run-D.M.C. released their holiday themed single “Christmas in Hollis”. The song was originally featured on the star studded charity compilation album, A Very Special Christmas alongside the likes of Whitney Houston, Madonna, and Stevie Nicks to name a few. Produced by the group and Rick Rubin, this track has become a Christmas favorite among Hip Hop fans everywhere being that it is one of rap’s first mainstream holiday single.
In Hip Hop music, it is hard to find an artist who would be down with recording a Christmas themed single for a commercial cause. Even Run-D.M.C. was opposed to the idea. D.M.C. spoke out saying,
“Nope. We’re not doing it. That’s what they try to do to Hip Hop. They commercialize you and try to make you corny,”
when asked to record “Christmas in Hollis”. Eventually they warmed up to the idea and paved the way for a whole new seasonal branch of Hip Hop that fans across the world have come to enjoy. In honor of this day, we have compiled a list of the top five holiday songs in rap music.
This track, released on the 5150 -Home 4 that Sick EP in 1992, was the only holiday themed song on the project. The project itself had some commercial success reaching #70 on the Billboard 200 chart.
In 2006, The Diplomats dropped the album Dipset Christmas featuring holiday tracks from the whole group. This track is one that would get any Christmas party moving in the right direction. It samples other Christmas favorites such as “Back Door Santa” and “Christmas in Hollis” while adding its own Harlem World twist.
3.”Santa Claus Goes Straight to the Ghetto” by Snoop Dogg (ft. Dat N**** Daz, Nate Dogg, Tray Dee, and Bad Azz)
This song was the opening track to the 1996 compilation album Christmas on Death Row. This song, produced by Snoop Dogg, gave Christmas caroling that true West Coast sound. The track was inspired by the James Brown song of the same name. Although there were solid tracks on the album this was definitely the standout.
Featured on Jive Records’ Platinum Christmas, “Sleigh Ride” has become not only a Christmas favorite, but a popular track all together for TLC. It is an R&B take on the song by the same name and became a holiday hit in both the US and Europe.
1.“Christmas in Harlem” by Kanye West (ft. Cam’Ron, Jim Jones, Vado, Pusha T, Musiq Soulchild, CyHi Da Prince, Teyana Taylor, and Big Sean)
Released as a part of Kanye West’s famous GOOD Fridays free music giveaway series, the song was originally put out with just Kanye West, CyHi Da Prince, and Teyana Taylor. A week later, however, in true Christmas fashion, the song was rereleased with a list of heavyweights following the title as features. This was the last track put out as a part of GOOD Fridays following a month long break from the series.