It’s the most wonderful time of the year! The holiday spirit is in the air, the hot chocolate is brewing, the trees are adorned with Christmas lights and all your favorite Christmas jingles are in rotation on the radio. While we all recognize that most Christmas carols are corny, there are plenty of tunes that are great enough to be enjoyed year-round. In fact, some of your favorite rappers enjoy the holiday so much, they created their own festive tracks.
The Christmas spirit has always lived in rap, dating back to the genre’s earliest years. In 1979, Kurtis Blow released “Christmas Rappin’,” a spruced-up version of “’Twas The Night Before Christmas.” Since then, rappers have shared their anticipation for the holiday season with absolute bangers to rock the bells of your home.
From the East Atlanta Santa’s seasonal visits to Fivio Foreign’s unconventional wishlist, check out 13 of the best Christmas rap songs below.
1. Player’s Ball – Outkast
Known for its funky, melodic hook and spitfire bars from André 3000 and Big Boi of OutKast, “Player’s Ball” puts a fresh spin on typical holiday tunes. The legendary duo ditch the mundane Christmas party and enjoy a “Player’s Ball” where Southern “playas” gather on Christmas Day and bask in their success. While the track doesn’t feature any bells or whistles, there are plenty of allusions to Christmas sprinkled throughout the track, especially in André 3000’s verse: “So tell me what did you expect / You thought I’d break my neck, to help y’all deck the halls / Oh naw, I got other means of celebratin’.”
2. St. Brick Intro – Gucci Mane
Gucci Mane is known for many aliases, but his East Atlanta Santa alter ego really captures the essence of Christmas in the hood. Produced by Zaytoven, The Return of East Atlanta Santa album opener finds Gucci doubling down on his status as the “Santa Claus of the hood,” rhyming over the faint melody of “Jingle Bells.” Following up his Everybody Looking and Woptober projects, The Return of East Atlanta Santa is the gift that keeps on giving every holiday season.
3. Deck da Club – Ying Yang Twins
For those moments when you crave a touch of humor in your playlist, look no further than Ying Yang Twins’ track “Deck da Club.” This playful banger seamlessly blends chiming bells with the distinctive early 2000s Atlanta trap production style. The duo injects their signature flair into a holiday classic, transforming the familiar tune into a catchy and cheeky rendition. In this festive twist, they encourage decking the club with stacks of cash, rhyming with a whimsical spirit: “Deck da club with piles of money / Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la, la, la.”
4. Christmas In Hollis – Run-D.M.C.
Run-D.M.C.’s funky “Christmas In Hollis” tells the cheerful, yet heartwarming story of how Christmas is celebrated in their hometown of Hollis, Queens. The track kicks off with a hilarious recollection from Rev Run, in which he mistakes Santa and his reindeer for “a man chilling with his dog in the park.” It is full of Christmas cheer as the group rhymes about drinking eggnog, admiring the luminescent white snow and enjoying a home-cooked meal from mom. It doesn’t get any more festive than that.
5. Baddie On My Wish List – Fivio Foreign
New York drill artists and producers never shy away from sampling classics and adding their own distinctive styles that call for the sturdiest of dance moves. Breathing new life into “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” Fivio Foreign’s 2020-released holiday heater finds him feeling the Christmas spirit as he urges Santa to put a baddie under his tree. The track was featured on the “Carols Covered” playlist — a holiday project presented by Apple Music where artists like Victoria Monet, Giveon and others share their renditions of classic Christmas carols. This banger is sure to get the holiday party rocking. Besides, who doesn’t want to woo walk with Saint Nick?
6. Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer – DMX
Just like Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” you can always count on DMX’s impromptu performance of “Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer” during his 2012 “The Breakfast Club” interview going viral every holiday season. His raspy voice singing the jovial holiday carol makes the listening experience just as wholesome as it is joyful, reminding us every year how the Mount Vernon megastar took a mundane moment and turned it into an iconic cover.
7. Ballin’ on Xmas – Jim Jones
On the heels of his No. 1 hit “We Fly High (Ballin’),” Jim Jones followed up with A Dipset X-Mas, an energetic Christmas compilation album by the New York rap posse. Paying homage to Run-D.M.C.’s “Christmas In Hollis,” the Harlem native kept the ballin’ trend rolling on the track as he sprinkled yuletide happiness into his slick flexes: “The holidays remind me of the game / The reindeers remind me of the Range (Supercharged) / Icicles remind me of the ring.”
8. Santa Claus Goes Straight To The Ghetto – Snoop Dogg
The holidays are all about giving, and Snoop Dogg’s 1996 “Santa Claus Goes Straight To The Ghetto” is a tuneful reminder of such. The laidback track finds Snoop putting his own unique twist on the imagery of Santa Claus giving gifts to children around the world; he focuses on Santa spreading that loving spirit in less fortunate neighborhoods. The song sends the positive message that everyone deserves some holiday cheer regardless of their socioeconomic status. This classic track truly captures the spirit of the season and still hits over two decades later.
9. Jingle Bellz – Juelz Santana
Dashing through the snow of Harlem is none other than Juelz Santana on “Jingle Bellz,” which is his fun, confidence-laden rendition of a holiday staple. The video is just as ice cold, with Saint Juelz making a white Bentley coupe his sleigh. He keeps a few leading ladies by his side, showering them with diamonds for making the nice list.
10. Ludacrismas – Ludacris
“Ludacrismas” finds Ludacris sharing his Christmas wishlist as he anticipates Santa’s arrival. Rhyming over a chopped and screwed instrumental, the Atlanta star reveals a list with pretty specific requests: “Yeah, I tell ’em all I want for Christmas is two gold front teeth / And ten-carat diamonds on a fat gold wreath / That I could wear around my neck / Get money and respect.” The Fred Claus movie soundtrack standout is the perfect banger to blast out of that brand new whip you might get for Christmas.
11. Christmas Rappin’ – Kurtis Blow
Although Kurtis Blow’s “Christmas Rappin’” was a holiday hit in the late ’70s, the song’s origin story isn’t necessarily rooted in the Christmas spirit. A new father at the time, Billboard reporter and aspiring producer Robert “Rocky” Ford decided to pen a rap version of “’Twas The Night Before Christmas” in hopes of making money off of holiday music. Tapping fellow Billboard colleague J.B. Moore for the creative process, the duo collaborated with Kurtis Blow to recite the rhyme and add his own personal flair to it. Despite starting off as a cash grab, “Christmas Rappin’” remains the turn-up track of any holiday party.
12. Ghostface X-Mas – Ghostface Killah
Ghostface Killah is always down to embrace the holiday spirit. In December 2022, the renowned Wu-Tang Clan member dropped off his first-ever holiday-themed Killah Christmas album with the help of rappers like Raekwon and Billy Ski-Mask. However, Killah’s been making Christmas music way before his album, and 2008 “Ghostface X-Mas” is one of the bangers you need on your playlist. Departing from his typical dark style, he rhymes about “wooden soldiers and chestnuts, roasting like marshmallows / Goodfellas, chocolate pudding pops, and Jell-O’s.” Throughout the song, Ghostface adopts a Santa Claus-like alter ego, casting himself as a figure who doles out coal to the naughty kids.
13. Millie Pulled a Pistol on Santa – De La Soul
De La Soul’s 1991 track stands out with its resonant bass line and a narrative that serves as a cautionary tale. Within the song’s storyline, Millie, the protagonist, has been subjected to abuse by a man who dresses up as Santa Claus at the local mall. After enduring the trauma for an extended time, Millie reaches a breaking point and exacts her revenge on Santa by shooting him in a mall filled with mortified kids. This song isn’t just a chilling Christmas tale; it also evokes thoughtful reflection on the consequences of abuse.