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New American Songbook

Hip Hop Christmas | NAS


Christmas music is a funny genre: descended from sacred music, it’s still capable of evoking some serious sentiments, but at the same time it’s fully saturated with commercialism, making our experience of Christmas music more Pavlovian than ecstatic. 

Much of the holiday music that we encounter was written in the ‘30s and ‘40s, and newer songs have a difficult time gaining traction, but that doesn’t mean musicians stop writing them.

Hip hop Christmas music is just as good and terrible as any other Christmas music (we will not be hearing the Justin Bieber track featuring Busta Rhymes on this commentary, that’s my Christmas present to you). A lot of hip hop holiday songs are ridiculous, but some are absolutely great. Big Daddy Kane’s verse on the Juice Crew’s "Cold Chillin Christmas" is hot like cocoa:


The songs can get dark, like Run the Jewels’ Dickensian track "A Christmas Miracle," but emcees that specialize in noir can get the holiday spirit as well. Ghostface Killa’s "A Ghostface Xmas." hints at a dark turn that never comes. This is Ghostface in a genuine holiday spirit:


Happy holidays and Merry Christmas!