Christmas Records, Day 12: Christmas on Death Row
Christmas on Death Row (Death Row, 1996)
Ho, Ho, Ho Fool! The best thing about Christmas on Death Row is its cover. Sadly the contents of this compilation would fail to make even the most pimped up, padded of stockings feel PHAT.
Once home to the biggest names in West Coast rap, Death Row Records at the end of '96 was in dire trouble. Tupac was dead, Dre had left the crumbling enterprise to form Aftermath Entertainment and his erratic co-founder Suge Knight was sent to prison.
You can hear the creative drain on this disc, as we're served up a bland collection of R&B cuts of well-known carols, (Silent Night, Silver Bells, White Christmas - even Frosty The Snowman) from a dwindling roster including 6 Feet Deep, Danny Boy, Michel'le and Guess.
Snoop and Nate Dogg put in the most notable turn, with their take on James Brown's Santa Claus Goes Straight To The Ghetto to open proceedings, but it's a slippery sled on a downward trajectory.
Twelve years after this release, Snoop swapped his reindeer for 'two blue-nosed pitbulls' on Christmas in the Dogghouse (Doggystyle Records, 2008) in the hope that people might have forgotten that novelty hip-hop records are a waste of money.
Some gangstas never learn.
YouTube: Listen to Snoop and Nate Dogg's Santa Claus Goes Straight To The Ghetto