A Hip Hop Christmas: holiday songs for all

Kyle Atkinson

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December is in full swing and as they say, ‘tis the season for Christmas music. These days Christmas music is so prevalent that you may become sick of it quite easily. Luckily, hip hop artists bring their refreshing takes to Christmas tunes every year. 

When you ask someone who sings their favorite Christmas songs, hip hop artists probably aren’t a typical answer. With that being said, it may come as a surprise that there’s actually quite a few great Christmas hip hop songs out there. Here is a collection of some of my favorite Christmas-themed hip hop tracks. Keep in mind that a lot of these Christmas bangers are explicit and may be offensive to sensitive audiences. These definitely are not your Granny’s favorite Christmas songs!

Christmas bangers

“Santa Claus Goes Straight To The Ghetto”Snoop Dogg ft. Nate Dogg, Daz Dillinger, Bad Azz, and Tray Dee

  • When I was a kid if you told me that Snoop Dogg released Christmas music that is actually good, I wouldn’t have believed you. But check this track out and I promise you’ll be surprised. This Christmas bop originally released in 1996 as part of the Christmas on Death Row album released by the legendary label. The whole album is actually worth a listen as the artists bring holiday vibes throughout. You can find this track and the whole album on streaming services everywhere.

“Player’s Ball” (original version) Outkast 

  • You may know “Player’s Ball” as the first song that gave Outkast exposure, but the backstory is bigger than that. It was originally a Christmas song that was featured on A La Face Family Christmas album in the early 1990s. The track details Andre 3000 and Big Boi’s experience at a Christmas Players Ball party and features jingle bells in the beat. This one is an absolute classic and a Christmas essential at this point. You can find the original Christmas version as well as the modified version on streaming services.   

“Christmas in Harlem”Kanye West, CyHi The Prince, and Teyana Taylor

  • This track is one of my absolute favorites for the holiday season. “Christmas in Harlem” pays homage to Run DMC’s classic “Christmas in Hollis” with bars on bars. Released in December 2011 as a part of Kanye’s G.O.O.D Fridays series, this track will be a holiday staple for years to come. I hope we can hear Kanye and the rest of his G.O.O.D Music roster on more Christmas tracks in the future. 

“St. Brick Intro”Gucci Mane

  • Admittedly, this track is more of a Christmas parody than an actual Christmas song. But still, the East Atlanta Santa really brings the vibes with a Christmas-infused beat and bars. This song was the intro to Guwop’s album The Return of East Atlanta Santa, which released in 2016. Be sure to check this one out if you want Christmas vibes wrapped up in a tough trap banger. It is worth a listen if you’re looking for more parody-focused Christmas music compared to the genre’s serious stuff.  

“Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer”DMX

  • Now this is a certified holiday banger folks. Here we have the legendary DMX flowing over a Christmas beat and it absolutely makes my day everytime. You may be familiar with this track already as it was a pretty big meme a couple years back. The funniest part is that the track actually isn’t bad and is worth a listen. Prepare for X’s legendary adlibs over the classic holiday song and for a big smile to creep across your face. I hope we can get more tracks like this in the future because they’re simply too wonderful.  

Merry Christmas Lil Mama (two discs) Chance The Rapper and Jeremih

  • We’ve finally made it to my favorite hip hop Christmas project of all time. When this one was first announced, I was a bit skeptical given both artists track records at the time. I didn’t think they could make good holiday music but boy was I wrong. There are two “discs” as a part of this project, so there’s plenty to listen to. Standouts include “Stranger At The Table”, “Merry Christmas Lil Mama”, “Let It Snow”, and “Big Kid Again”. Sadly these projects only live on Soundcloud, but hopefully they make all streaming services soon enough.    

More Christmas vibes

If you still aren’t satisfied after checking out these hip hop Christmas tracks, follow the Hip Hop Drip’s new “Christmas Bops” playlist. Hit me up on Instagram @youngthuggamanekyle if you have more Christmas song suggestions for this season!

K-UTE Radio/University of Utah does not own any images in this piece.