Hip-Hop Music to Remind Us to be Good during the Holidays
HypeFresh has put together a nontraditional holiday track list to keep people going through the holiday season.
“Money Trees” by Kendrick Lamar featuring Jay Rock
“Money Trees” reminds us that the struggle was real on the come-up for many of the artists whom we love. Kendrick Lamar shows the hustlers some love with lyrics like, “And I been hustlin’ all day/This a way, that a way/Through canals and alleyways, just to say/Money trees is the perfect place for shade/And that’s just how I feel!”
‘Foldin’ Clothes” by J. Cole
2016 album, “For Your Eyez Only” is overall a very romantic expression of love for others, for source, for the collective, and for ourselves. “Foldin’ Clothes” is particularly comforting.
“I wanna fold clothes for you. I wanna make you feel good. Baby, I wanna do the right thing. Feels so much better than the wrong thing.”
He reminds us the listener of how valuable his time is with rhymes like, “*****s from the hood is the best actors/Gotta learn to speak in ways that’s unnatural/Just to make it through the job interviews.”
Before he reminds his partner how important she is to him. “Listen, this is a meditation for me/A practice of being present/There’s no where I need to be/except right here with you.”
“HUMBLE” by Kendrick Lamar
Kendrick Lamar commands us to be humble in this timeless didactic classic. “I can buy yo’ ass the world with my paystub.” “Watch my soul speak, you let the meds talk.”
“Grace & Mercy” by Mick Jenkins
Mick Jenkins drops name-brands in lines like, “I stay in the sun, need my skin like Hershey’s” that scream pro-Black holiday season. Plus, “…wake up thanking God For these brand new mercies,” is good advice for anyone.
“Praise the Lord (Da Shine)” A$ap Rocky featuring Skepta
This spiritual pump-up jam is all about manifesting your dreams into reality! “Twenty bands, rain dance/We can keep the rain check or we can make plans.” And the chorus, “I take what’s mine, then take some more/It rains, it pours…” makes you want to continue conquering your goals this holiday season!
“If I Ruled the World (Imagine That)” by Nas and Ms. Lauryn Hill
A song that reminds us of divine ideals. “If I ruled the world/Still livin’ for today, in these last days and times.” I would love if Ms. Lauryn Hill and Nas ruled the world!
“Unforgettable” by French Montana featuring J. Baldwin and Swae Lee
A bop for an island-inspired holiday season, this 2017 hit with some seriously compelling lines about marriage. “A fucking good time never hurt nobody/…I got to give it to her like we in a marriage.” Being good never felt so bad.
“The Poverty of Philosophy” by Immortal Technique
“The Poverty of Philosophy” by Immortal Technique is him explaining Karl Marx’s essay, “The Philosophy of Poverty” to a hip-hop audience of Black and Latino people in the ‘hood.
His opening few lines address this by explaining that poverty makes the “America” of ideals a fallacy.
“Most of my Latino and Black people struggling to get food, clothes, and shelter in the ‘hood are so concerned with that, that philosophizing about freedom and socialist democracy is usually unfortunately beyond their rationale. They don’t realize that America can’t exist without separating them from their identity; because if we had some sense of who we really are, there’s no way in Hell we’d allow this country to push its genocidal consensus on our homelands.”
“Gimme the Loot” by The Notorious B.I.G.
Unfortunately, not everyone is cozy during the holidays. Biggie Smalls theatrically portrays a criminal’s mentality, “’Cause mom dukes ain’t giving me shit so for the bread and butter I leave *****s in the gutter!” The song’s lyrics expertly hints at wider systemic reasons for violence and poverty with lines like, “I’ve been robbing motherfuckas since the slave ships!”
“Toxic” by Britney Spears
“Toxic” as a holiday-time jam is all about leaving behind anybody who’s toxic, even family members. No, you are not a slave for anyone. “And I love what you do/Don’t you know that you’re toxic?” Blast that over some egg nog!
“Trust Nobody” by Hippie Sabotage
“Losing everybody/They can never take the grind.” We can all empathize with the struggle being real, so here is a sad song to indulge in that is all about getting up and fighting and then continuing to fight even when you are hurting. “I don’t hate nobody/Just stay up out my life/And I won’t hurt nobody.”
“Like Toy Soldiers” by Eminem
This nostalgic hit is a classic and asks the hip-hop community to remember that actions have consequences.