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Christmas On Death RowIn the All Music Guide, Stephen Thomas Erlewine writes, "In theory, a holiday album by the most vulgar and violent rap label should be a wonderfully tasteless guilty pleasure, but Christmas On Death Row (1996) doesn't quite meet expectations." Well put! I expected the ghetto Christmas party of all time when I purchased this joint from Suge Knight's totemic west coast, hip hop house of horrors. Instead, I got flaccid slow jams and sanctimonious gospel. Ironically, I came to this album via exactly the sort of track I expected Christmas On Death Row to be stuffed with. The song was Snoop Dogg's hilarious "Twas The Night Before Christmas" recorded with Nate Dogg during, I suspect, the Doggstyle sessions produced by rap svengali Dr. Dre and first released on the 1997 KROX compilation Kevin & Bean's Family Christmas...In Your Ass. "Yo, Santa, whuzzup?" Snoop intones, "Did you bring me some chronic, and Tanqueray gin I can mix with my tonic?" Indeed, he does, wishing "Merry Christmas to all you motherfuckers, and to all a good high."

Sadly, that track is not included here, and the absence of such glib irreverence (as well as, Erlewine points out, Dre's mad skillz) makes Christmas On Death Row an oddly glum affair. Most of Christmas On Death Row is characterized by the sort of overly lush production and excessively melismatic singing that has all but destroyed rhythm & blues. If that sort of thing appeals to you, fine. I'd rather be hangin' in the 'hood with Snoop, Nate, and Dre, enjoying "my bitch on my jock giving holiday head." (Snoop compiled his own Christmas In Tha Dogghouse in 2008 - long after I'd ceased to care much about his hijinks.) [top of page]

Albums Albums


  • Santa Claus Goes Straight To The Ghetto (Snoop Dogg with Nate Dogg)
  • Peaceful Christmas (Danny Boy)
  • Christmas In The Ghetto (Operation From The Bottom)

Further ListeningFurther Listening

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