Around this time of year, we get treated to playlists filled with holiday hip-hop and R&B standards like Run-D.M.C.’s “Christmas in Hollis” and TLC’s “Sleigh Ride,” a perfect Christmas song. Otherwise, it’s boring holiday classics coming at you nonstop in the department store, at the pharmacy, on the radio. Before you head home for the holidays to get hyperemotional with your family—if you have a family—try getting hype with the most important person in your life: YOU. Here’s a playlist for that, whether you actually want to don a fur around the house or just like the idea of being theoretically icy. (This playlist also works for chilling with a group of cool friends.)
1. Gucci Mane, “St. Brick Intro”
“Middle of the winter, I pull up in the vert” is in fact the only way to kick off a holiday turn-up. Over a dark, wintry “Jingle Bells” riff, Gucci raps about igloos, selling bricks, “trapping through the snow” and being a holiday philanthropist. (Fun fact: Siri says Gucci’s catchphrase “Burr!” when you ask her the temperature outside.)
2. Quad City DJs, “What You Want For Christmas”
Bounce all you want as K-Nock comes through to remind us that Christmas is all about excess: “My Christmas list go a little somethin’ like this/I want 1200 dollars, 11 pair of shoes, 10 fingernails, 9 pack of weave, 8 male strippers, 7 bus passes, 6 diamonds rings, 5 months free rent, 4 bangles, 3 pocketbooks, 2 earrings and a man with a lotta money.”
3. RuPaul, “Nothing for Christmas”
From RuPaul’s 2015 holiday album Slay Belles, this record is thick with bass that sounds like a runway stomp, a force that’s balanced with bitter lyrics about experiencing a black Christmas: “I was a good girl all year long until someone did me wrong.”
4. Musiq Soulchild, “O Christmas Tree”
For his 2009 holiday album aptly titled Christmas Musiq, Musiq Soulchild transformed an old Christmas standard into a lounge jam with a bop.
5. M.O.P., “Cold As Ice”
A hardcore staple, this isn’t a holiday song at all, but it does get across themes of being cold—physically, emotionally and fashionably speaking—while also getting you sufficiently hype.
6. Khia, “Santa Baby Rap”
I somehow had not heard of this hip-hop/R&B holiday compilation before Rich’s post, nor Khia’s incredible ratchet flip on “Santa Baby,” a freak cover worthy of an entry in Issa Rae’s Ratchetpiece Theater collection.
7. Kanye West, “Christmas in Harlem”
Teyana Taylor provides a soulful backdrop for this warm gem on which Kanye supplies crude holiday cheer and fires off Christmas puns like: “Gave her the hot chocolate/She said it’s deer-icious.”
8. DMX, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (Remix)”
I understand it’s ridiculous to include this “song,” which wasn’t intended to be a Christmas rap classic and yet DMX made it so with his joyous ad libs. Through X’s gruff filter, an anti-bullying Christmas PSA turns ever darker... and ever more lit.