I have a suspicion everyone actually enjoys holiday songs. Especially millennials. I don’t care if you pretend to hate them — I know you deep down have a fondness for them (it’s called Stockholm syndrome, sheeple, look it up).
If you’re one of the few who claim to hate that radio stations switch to Christmas music in December, I have a counter-argument for you: It’s not the concept of holiday songs you hate, it’s the fact that there are only around 20 regularly rotated through. If you feel triggered about your love for Mariah Carey, good. I’m here to make you uncomfortable.
Much to my friends’ and coworkers’ dismay, I have power ranked the top 10 hip-hop holiday ballads of all time. There is no rhyme or reason. If you disagree, don’t @ me.
The top 10 holiday hip-hop ballads
10. “Silver Bells” – DRAM
We’re going to give the last spot to newcomer Big Baby Dram because I think this is a good introduction to the ten songs overall, if you’re not ready for full-fledged holiday hip-hop. Plus, it’s super cute he featured his mom, and the holiday season is all about family time.
9. “Grinch 2000” – Busta Rhymes, Jim Carrey
Did you know this song existed? Have you ever dreamt of something as glorious as Busta Rhymes doing a collab with Jim Carrey in character as the Grinch? This song falls at spot nine on the hip-hop holiday ballads list because it introduces absurdity into the list. It only gets better from here.
8. “Deck My Balls” – Afroman
I sent this list in to approval. My editor said, “‘Deck My Balls,’ really Afroman?” Yes, really. This a cappella from Afroman is all you ever needed, and it’s a clever word play on the classic “Deck the Halls.” Also something to note: A song from A Colt 45 Christmas had to make it on this list, and this was the most (read: only) appropriate one.
7. “Let it Snow” – Boyz II Men
If this is on your regular holiday playlist rotation, congratulations. If it isn’t, add it now. It’s the perfect R&B song to play next to a fire that isn’t actually “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire).”
6. “Sleigh Ride” – TLC
If this doesn’t take you back to the ’90s immediately, you probably didn’t listen to music in the ’90s. This is another wholesome, semi-classic holiday ballad that doesn’t just belong on the “hip-hop” playlist. Dig it? TLC has an entire Christmas album from 1993, and it is glorious in full.
5. “Christmas in Harlem” – Kanye West
I had to do it. Kanye did a modern take on “Christmas in Hollis,” so of course it was included. I will take this moment to remind you my power ranking has no rhyme or reason.
4. “Rudolph the Rednose Reindeer” – DMX
This is the song that started this entire piece. DMX’s take on “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” is purely absurdist humor rapped in a hip-hop package and I am the target market demo. Take my money, DMX. Use it to hire a lawyer this holiday season.
3. “What You Want For Christmas” – Quad City DJ’s
Disclaimer: “Space Jam” and “C’mon N’ Ride It (The Train)” were the first songs I knew every word to. I sang them every day for a year. This single has the essence of those bangers rolled up into a perfect Christmas bundle. Plot twist: They have an entire Christmas album. It’s been on my wishlist every year since 1996. This very narrowly missed the top two spots in my hip-hop holiday power ranking.
2. “Christmas in Hollis” – Run-D.M.C.
This is the song people think of when they hear “holiday hip-hop.” It’s the original, the godfather. It’s so famous, Kanye remade it. It’s a classic, a hall-of-famer, and a close second only to…
1. “Merry Muthafuckin’ Xmas” – Eazy-E
My love for Eazy-E does not skew this power ranking in the slightest. This is quite possibly the most critically acclaimed lyrical masterpiece in the last few decades. Merry muthafuckin’ X-mas, y’all.
Did I miss a holiday hip-hop ballad you love? Let us know on Twitter.
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