December might be the busiest month for hip hop. Along with the rest of everything that comes with the holiday season we see record labels unleashing as much as they possibly can, whether that be projects that will get overlooked or complete garbage that you ain’t even realize your favorite MC snuck right past you just to collect a quick check. Some of the best albums have dropped in December but even those have gone unnoticed due to other winter classics (like in 2001 when Iron Flag dropped but Stillmatic got all the shine, who still relevant though?) But with the oversaturation comes lost classics as well as the perfect time to reminisce on the previous year and of course bring out them holiday joints that really only get spins around this time, fuck Bing Crosby, we got Jim Jones.
Hip Hop and Christmas have coincided since Kurtis Blow
but Run-DMC made that shit hype with “Christmas In Hollis”
and since then we’ve seen Suge Knight play the ultimate desperation move with Christmas on Death Row
which was a lot better than it sounds, as well as the brilliant if hilarious Dipset X-mas
that dropped a few years back while everyone was still running around screaming “Ballin!!!!” (or maybe that was just me, goddamn it). There’s also been some amazing R&B efforts including the Destiny’s Child holiday album which is absolutely beautiful
as we all remember how incredible that group was, regardless of how they ended up. Hip hop has given us some incredible theme music for this month, but classics got dropped too.
Last year we saw Clipse display their maturity on Til The Casket Drops
and Ghostface is notorious for his December jumpoffs
(including the upcoming Apollo Kids
which on paper
looks to be an album of the year contender). The aforementioned Stillmatic
brought Nas back to the spotlight and then 5 years later he dropped another gem with Hip Hop is Dead
. This year is no different as Puffy finally delivered the Last Train to Paris
which is every bit as amazing as any fan of his music should expect.
But this month has also seen some amazing albums get released and completely overlooked due to the need for record labels to write off a whole bunch of bullshit ass projects for tax purposes, such as Slim Thug albums and whatever greatest hits compilation they can throw together for artists who barely saw 3 months of radio. M.A.D.E.
was one of the best albums of 2003
but Bleek saw no shine, although his own label mate “retiring” a month prior probably didn’t help too much. With so much going on it’s easy to miss out on a potential classic, but this time of year everyone is focused on other shit, like that album from February that’s popping up on everyone’s top 10 lists and you ain’t never checked it. A word of advice, check it out cause there’s probably a damn good reason why everyone got it up there.
Overall December is perfect for showing love for another year of dope hip hop, and even though some aren’t as good as others, every year brings us new classics and reminds us why we love this shit for various different reasons, whether it’s old memories of Millie pullin’ a pistol on Santa
, the always entertaining “Player’s Ball”
(that’s right, it’s an xmas song), or just a solid group of 10 releases that make you say “damn, hip hop ain’t never gonna die if shit like this keeps coming out”, holiday style…