Words by Jesse Serwer
Rasta is the strain of spiritualism most closely associated with reggae but there’s a whole history of irie Christmas tune-age out there as rich as that of any other genre. Well aware of this, our dudes DJ Shirkhan and Sammy K from Sweden’s Safari Sound have teamed with Swedish hip-hop pioneer Petter and Red Stripe for a whole Reggae Christmas mixtape, and it’s full of fire, or better yet ice. The mix spans decades worth of material, with everyone from Alton Ellis and John Holt to Freddie McGregor and Beres Hammond represented, while the selections run the gamut from faithful covers of Santa-and-snow staples (i.e. Johnny Clarke’s “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”) to not-so-merry culture tunes like Yellowman’s “Santa Claus Never Comes to the Ghetto.” Then there’s the Silvertones’ “Bling Bling Christmas,” a tune which predates Lil Wayne and the Hot Boyz’ “pioneering” of that term by about three decades. (When it comes to music and cultural ingenuity, Jamaica always wins).
Stream and download the whole thing below. And after that, be sure to check out the bonus stream of Black Street Records’ new Ghetto Christmas riddim. With lines like this —”Bumba hole unnu dead fi di Christmas…My desert eagle nuh like Santa Claus…pussy”—Beenie Man’s “Fassy” might just be the next Caribbean Christmas classic… or maybe not. It’s a riot, anyway.