Arusa’s Hip Hop Christmas
There are a few things that I rely on every year to get me into the festive spirit: mulled drinks, blindingly bright lights and Christmas music. I always tell people that I don’t feel truly festive until there’s a backdrop of Christmas music wherever I go. If it’s not playing in the supermarket or at full whack in the local pub, we’ve not reached peak Christmas yet.
There are certain songs that will forever be firm favourites for me – Blue Christmas, The Beach Boys’ Little Saint Nick, the original 1958 version of ¿Dónde Está Santa Claus? and of course, Eartha Kitt’s Santa Baby. But even I’ll admit that those classics can start to grate, especially after the 100th time you’ve heard them in a month. Alternative Christmas playlists are par for the course, and musicians have been delivering the goods for decades so that there are always new songs and new versions of the hits to get stuck in your head. But at this time of year, I like to look to my favourite genre to bring the ultimate holiday cheer.
Hip hop might not exactly scream Christmas to most people and sure, I accept that ‘cheer’ might not be the right word either. But hip hop has embraced Christmas in many different manners since its inception, resulting in some real bangers that have become part of the wider canon, from comical covers like DMX’s Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer to Run The Jewels more hard-hitting A Christmas Fucking Miracle.
In the spirit of hip hop Christmas, I’ve compiled a playlist of 20 tracks that highlight the full range of creative responses that have come from rappers, DJs and crews on the most wonderful time of the year. From TLC and Eazy-E to Atmosphere and Tyler, The Creator, there’s bound to be something on this playlist that resonates, whether you’re into hip hop or not. I’ve even thrown in some R&B earworms courtesy of Boyz II Men, Blu Cantrell and Destiny’s Child.
However you choose to celebrate Christmas, may it be peaceful, entertaining and restorative. And if you’re looking for some musical accompaniment, may this playlist bring you some yuletide joy.