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Recently in Compilations Category

I'm going to admit finally that I don't know what the young people are on about when they talk about "mixtapes." I used to make mixtapes in the cassette days; now I make mix discs out of other people's songs. I'm told I should be making mix thumb drives nowadays, but never mind. This, by contrast, appears to be new original hip-hop Christmas music for 2016 created by Chance the Rapper and Jeremih along with special guests. We used to call these things "albums," but in today's ADHD musical world nobody listens to albums. So mixtapes it is, I guess. And this is a really cool mixtape. Special mention to "Stranger at the Table," a repurposing of the Jackson 5ive's "I Want You Back" with new lyrics. It's all mostly mid-tempo or slower, almost slow-jam styled modern R'nB but with a fair amount of rapping. On "All the Way," comedian Hannibal Buress jokes about wanting more auto-tune put on his voice, and "I Shoulda Left You" isn't particularly holiday oriented. "The Tragedy" addresses a homeless man's plight in winter, and while it's a nice ballad and rap I'm still going to state the vinyl record crackling was a cliché back when people were putting it on CDs. "Chi Town Christmas" repurposes "Carol of the Bells" into something befitting a hip-hop record, and the title song wraps things up with the title being used as a mantra. A few stray expletives turn up here, but otherwise this is quite listenable even if you're not particularly oriented toward hip-hop. It's only on Soundcloud.
 
8bitmullet.jpgThe Santastic series of holiday mash-ups ended with Vol. 9, but 8-Bit Mullet, a D.C.-area DJ, has revived the idea for 2016, offering the work of many of the DJs who provided their work for the Santastic albums. He's mashed them up himself into a 61-minute supercut, so I'm having a little trouble distinguishing where one DJ's work ends and another's begins. I guess that plays against my natural tendency to highlight particular cuts, but just as that didn't stop 8-Bit Mullet from mashing them together, that surely won't stop anybody from ripping them back apart. I'll point out that several of the cuts on here, like "No Sleep Till Christmas" by Divide & Kreate, "Insane Wonderland" by DJ Flack, "Cold Chillin' with Stevie at Christmastime" by DJ BC, "Jingle Bells Pon De Floor" and "Tommy's Royal Christmas" by DJ Schmolli, have already been on Santastic collections. It also appears that Mojochronic's Led Zeppelin mashups are on here uncredited. From among the rest, I'm enjoying "Frosty DMC" by Sam Flanagan, "Funky Christmas" by Brat, "Pumping Up Christmas" by DJ Schmolli, "Xmasploitation" by Mojochronic, and "Sister Christmas" by DJ Lobsterdust. If you'd like to see what 8-Bit Mullet has wrought here, by all means download this sucker free of charge.
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Diplo's label keeps the string of hip-hop Christmas mixtapes/compilations going for 2016 with this just-out collection. This is enjoyable to listen to, mainly because there's a fair amount of Jamaican influence throughout, starting with opening track "Christmas Trees" by Major Lazer, a reggae-influenced number that is concerned with more types of vegetation than just the plant in the title, if you catch my drift. "Carnival" by 4B and "Mrs. Claus" by Bad Royale both float above the melody of "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy," and the latter is essentially a booty call for Santa's spouse (only song with an explicit notation, btw). Nonsens's "Gungla the Snowman" goes kind of reggaeton on Frosty's theme song, "Creepy Christmas" by Aquadrop & Big Fish isn't a shout-out to Halloween, but apparently addresses someone who's a "Christmas creeper" over "O Come All Ye Faithful." "The Christmas Party" by KiWi actually manages to mash up hip-hop and J-pop with a bit of Chipmunks thrown in, Jan Level's "World Peace" and Akira Akira's "Chrimbus" are instrumentals, as is DJ Douggpound's mix closer "Up On the Housetop." Some of these tunes get a bit clattery, but there's a lot of good pace-changers for your own mix. Heck, pull 'em apart and remix them yourself if you want.
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This is actually the second Christmas mixtape compiled by Diplo and Mad Descent, the first being called, wait for it, A Very Decent Christmas, from 2013. Of course, I'm just getting hep to this for 2014. Both are still streaming from Soundcloud, but click the cover to buy this one from Amazon, and click here to get the previous edition. Jessi Slater & Wuki kick things off with "Rock Them Bells," a heavy-bass version of "Deck the Halls" with the title chanted repeatedly over it. Diplo & Alvaro featuring Kstylis offer "6th Gear (Bethlehem Edition)," a holiday remake of the artists' existing song. Snappy Jit goes to the dancefloor with "Lil Drumma Boy," Aquadrop offers to "Troll the Halls," another deconstruction of "Deck the Halls," and Splurt Christmases up his "#OMW25YG" with a taste of "Frosty the Snowman."  DJ Fire's "Twerkith On These Bells" is a fairly minimalist performance, 4B offers yet another clattery "Deck the Halls" take on "Drop It Again (Xmas Version)," Wiwek's "Totem Night" drops the beat on "Silent Night," Alizzz offers a deconstructed slow jam over "Jingle Bells" on "What If (Jingle Edit)," and Davoodi's "The Nutcracka" needs very little elaboration from the likes of me, in that it's the hip-hop take on the Tchaikovsky classic. Though I'm far from a hip-hop expert, this stuff is pretty listenable to me.
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Mixing and mashing their way through the holidays are the various DJs and Pro Tools jockeys who help us get a different look at the holiday by cutting and pasting the familiar into something new. And appropriately enough, Mojochronic kicks off "Number 9" with "Yuletide Beatles," doing what Giles Martin did with The Beatles Love but emphasizing selections from the Fabs' Christmas flexidiscs in honor of the holiday. Mojochronic returns later with "Walking In LA Winter Wonderland," in which he builds an 80s Christmas song out of the Missing Persons' hit and Jean Dixon's version of the popular carol. Voicedude presides over a shotgun marriage of Mariah Carey and AC/DC on "You Shook Me All I Want For Christmas" and puts Smokey Robinson over Plain White T's on "Hey There, St. Nicholas!" Rapper DMX once did an off-the-cuff version of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," and dj BC lays it over the Burl Ives version here, then comes back with "Forgot About Merry," in which the Staples Singers meet an array of Christmas villains. ATOM offers "A Glimpse of James' Jingle Socks," in which James Brown is reimagined as a chill artist, and "Santa Ist Das Bein Stalker," in which a German guy snarks on Santa while various grooves play behind him, and I don't have any idea where that came from. DJ Schmolli keeps the Germanic groove going on "Weihnachtszeit-Song," and Divide and Kreate has Peggy Lee doing "Little Breakbeat Boy," in which various hip-hop beats accompany the "Little Drummer Boy." DJ M.i.F takes the "remix classic jazz age singers" craze of a few years ago a few steps further, going crazy on Ella Fitzgerald and Bing Crosby with "Children Winter Wonderland." DJ Morgoth offers "The Power of New Divide," in which Linkin Park is uneasily joined to Frankie Goes to Hollywood, and "Carol of the Tolling Bell" is G3RSt's combination of Metallica and Shawn Lee's Ping Pong Orchestra. And no, Metallica aren't playing "Carol of the Bells" on this mashup. Mashups aren't for everybody, of course, but for those who like to see familiar themes subverted, especially at the holiday, Santastic has become a great holiday tradition.

Santastic 8, various artists (djBC)

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If you were concerned that you weren't going to get your minimum holiday allotment of mashups, fear not, the eighth annual Santastic compilation is here to make your season. As always, you may debate which cuts are keepers and which are not, but there's no argument that everybody's likely to find something that will speak to them. And as the whole collection is free of charge, you can make that determination at your leisure. In keeping with the collection's cover art, we kick off with "The Christmas Massacre of Charlie Brown" by DJ John, which is a big beat overlaid on "Schroeder and Snoopy" and collaged with the speaking voices from the iconic "Peanuts" special. The collection's curator, djBC, mixes up "Cold Chillin With Stevie," combining Stevie Wonder, Juice Crew, Harry Potter, and Bob & Doug McKenzie, and "Jack Frost vs the Weatherman," using the TV special and snippets of the Mills Brothers. Every year brings us nods to the past year's popular culture, so we get Pimpdaddysupreme's "How KimYe Ruined Christmas" with Kanye West and Patsy Cline, DJ McFly's "The Sugar Plum Wrecking Ball" with Tchaikovsky meeting Miley Cyrus, DJ Schmolli's "Tommy's Royal Christmas" with the Who and Lorde, and Mojochronic's "Lou Christmas (Without You), in which the Velvet Underground meets Straight No Chaser and the Staple Singers. Mojochronic also gives us "Rudolph's Red Nose" with Gene Autry and Sage the Gemini, Voicedude offers "Folsom Prison Christmas" with Johnny Cash, "Last White Christmas" featuring Cream and the "Glee" cast, and "St Nick the Knife" with what is supposed to be Bobby Darin, but sounds more like the Joel Kopische parody. Divide & Kreate created a killer "No Sleep Till Christmas" from the Beastie Boys and Wham, DJ Tripp's "Just Like Rudolph" mashes The Cure with Gene Autry and snippets of "Island of Misfit Toys," ATOM throws in the kitchen sink on "Hark the Snow King's Marshmellows," and G3RSt's "Sleigh Me Like a Pirate" is for those who like to talk like one.
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We're up to the seventh in the Santastic holiday mashup series, which in my book ranks as a modern-day Christmas tradition, right up there with putting giant bows on Lexuses, setting your outdoor lights to blink in time with Trans-Siberian Orchestra and complaining that there's some spurious War on Christmas going on. This year's collection shows a trend toward more pop consciousness; although dance-floor and hip-hop conventions still rule, there's a number of cuts on here that would blend right into the background if you slipped them into some store's speaker system. Mojochronic's "What Child Too Close" is an example, as it mashes up Alex Clare with, of all people, The Judds. You could almost say the same for that mixmaster's "White Chrismadness," which backs Diana Ross with Muse. Mojochronic's third contribution is more rock-oriented, "I Wanna Be Dentated," in which a Ramones medley backs up The Three Stooges' "All I Want For Christmas is My Two Front Teeth" and Ray Conniff's "Rudolph." Another smooth mover is Voicedude, who combines Sublime and Smokey Robinson in "Jingle Bells Are What I Got," and DJ Flack mines similar territory with "Sleigh Ride 2 Hell!" featuring Johnny Mathis, Ciara and AC/DC. DJ Schmolli opens and closes this playlist with "Jingle Bells Pon De Floor," in which Jars of Clay meets up with Major Lazer and Soma. DJ Morsy gives us a "Toxic X-mas" featuring Britney Spears and Jose Feliciano," G3RSt drops Sean Kingston on top of Brian Setzer in "Jingle Girl," Brutal Redneck's "Smells Like Ray Conniff" is just what it sounds like, and the Temptations meet Night Ranger in "Sister Christmas" by Lobsterdust. Gotta love dj BC's "Jingle Pressure," combining Queen, David Bowie and Smokey Robinson, with a cameo by Vanilla Ice, and ATOM's "Santa Brought My Baby Around the World" is so densely packed the only thing I can positively identify is Elvis Presley. Shouldn't leave without mentioning "Riders on the Sugar Plum," DJ McFly's mash of the Doors and Maroon 5 into a classical rendition of "Sugar Plum Fairy." Once again, another great collection of mashups, and like always it's free to download.

santastic6.jpgHard to believe it's the sixth edition of this new Christmas tradition featuring this bunch of like-minded deejays working their turntable-computer-beatbox skills on the Christmas repertoire. And like always, it's free to download. Highlights from this year's compilation include "Santatage," with Divide & Kreate mashing Otis Redding, the Beastie Boys and Run-DMC together; "Party Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" by Dj McFly bringing LMFAO together with Brenda Lee; A Plus D vs RIAA brings us the genius "Crimson & Chanukkah," which brings Joan Jett's cover of Tommy James and the Shondells together with a cover of Adam Sandler's holiday hit; Voicedude puts his 2012 prediction on the line with his version of "You're a Loser, Newt Gingrich," and also does "Let's Get Our Fa La La On," in which Marvin Gaye meets the Osmonds, Boyz II Men and The Beeb; ATOM brings Fats Domino, Peggy Lee and Bjork together on "Wonderland Walker"; DJ Flack's "Marshmallow Vanilla Fudge World" combines the band in the title with Brenda Lee over a reggae beat; and Mojochronic, he of the "Yuletide Zeppelin" mashups, gets Andy Williams to "Pump Up the Holiday" with Technotronic. I mentioned last year that the Jackson 5ive "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" gets a bit too much mashup love; well, it's here again, I'll let you find it after you download the latest collection.
santast3.jpgThe label is also the artist in this case, who compiled, and in some cases masterminded some of, this collection of mashups and parodies for 2007. This is the third year and the third collection in this vein, but I'm just catching up now. "You Shook Me All Noel" by djBC starts out with some "Peanuts" clips but segues quickly into a killer mashup of AC/DC and Sarah MacLachlan. He also takes on the classical "Four Seasons" in three parts, featuring Lauren Hill, Wyclef Jean and Jay Z's mom at various times. "Elvis' Christmas Turkey" by Go Home Productions lays the King over a reggae backing for "White Christmas," and Elvis returns with Atom for "Santa's Pre-Boarding Announcement," which features a litany of goodies layered in over Elvis' "Here Comes Santa Claus." Divide and Kreate's "Velvet Santa" combines Michael Jackson with some heavy Lou Reed riffing on "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town." "Brave Bells of Scotland" by Martinn gives us some latter-day Chipmunks action with Frank Sinatra, a Celtic rock band and bagpipe tunes all doubletimed over "Jingle Bells." Andy Williams meets the Yellow Magic Orchestra in Apollo Zero's "Do You Hear Rainbows I Hear," Mojochronic's pair of "Yuletide Zeppelin" cuts turn up here, and A Plus D Christmases up the "SNL" classic bit as "Xmas Dick in a Box." Two Hanukkah Alerts are included here too, with Voicedude stealing the Three Weissmans' "Jingle Bells," Adam Sandler's "Hanukkah Song," the "Dreidel Song," Allan Sherman and South Park to make "Dreidel All the Way," and DJ Flack gives us "Hanukkah-In-Dub," a cut-and-paste of various appropriate original sources over a Matisyahu performance. "Safety Bells" by DJ Earlybird mashes Smokey Robinson with Men Without Hats, David Hasselhoff is fodder for "Alala Falala Hasselhoff" by DJ Freddy King of Pants, "Last Christmas Twist" by Fettdog puts some hard-rock crunch on top of the Wham tune, and Voicedude returns to "Imagine Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" with John Lennon on top of the familiar carol. Projects like this have a tendency towards excess, but I think a lot of folks not familiar with the mashup world could listen to this all the way through and enjoy it. While you're at the site downloading this, click on the Give link and remember a fine charity in exchange for the music.

Santastic 4, various artists (djBC)

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santast4.jpgAnother compilation of DJ skills offering holiday mash-ups for 2008. The Ramones get sound-checked with "Christmas Bop" by Smash-Up Derby and "Blitzkrieg Santa" by Divide & Kreate, both playing off "Blitzkrieg Bop", the latter superimposing the Jackson 5's "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town." "You Should Be a Freaky Christmas Baby" by ATOM combines what sounds like Chuck Berry's version of "Merry Christmas Baby" along with "You Should Be Dancing" by the Bee Gees, and there's a bunch of other things ladled in there as well. Mojochronic, of "Yuletide Zeppelin" fame, is back here with "Whoville (Won't Get Yuled Again)," combining the Who with the scourge of Whoville himself, the Grinch, and also smashing "Baba O'Reilly" and "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag" together with a James Brown Christmas song, the "Theme From Shaft," "Back Door Santa," "Freddy's Dead," the Beach Boys and more on "Xmasploitation (Santa's Badass Revenge)." Props for the grab of "Santa's Got a Brand New Bag" from the Bobs on that one, the bit spoken by "Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist." Go Home Productions offers "High Tides and Blocked Peace Pipes," combining "The Tide is High" by Blondie, "Wonderful Christmastime" and "Pipes of Peace" by Sir Paul. djBc turns "The Night Before Christmas" into a fast-paced rap over an electropop bed. My favorite from this might be "A Message To You Santa Claus," mashing the Specials with Augie Rios' "Donde Esta Santa Claus." There's so much going on here, and the nice thing is that it's a free download.
deathrow.jpgNames like Snoop Doggy Dogg suggest a rap album, but this 1996 CD only has a few rap tunes. Snoop kicks off with his take on "Santa Claus Goes Straight to the Ghetto," no relation to the James Brown number, and Operation From the Bottom revisits the theme with "Christmas in the Ghetto." The only other rap tune is Tha Dogg Pound's "I Wish." Danny Boy emotes on "Peaceful Christmas," Nate Dogg sings "Be Thankful," Sean Barney Thomas does "Party 4 Da Homies," and covers of the standards "Silver Bells," "Silent Night," "O Holy Night," "White Christmas," and a few others are all straight 90s rhythm 'n blues arrangements. Danny Boy also covers Donny Hathaway's "This Christmas" and Guess takes on Smokey Robinson's "Christmas Everyday," sneaking in a sample of the original along the way. For the most part, this is a pretty straight R&B Christmas album, so if you were expecting mostly rap, be advised, especially since this album does carry a Parental Advisory tag.

beating3.jpgThey're baa-aak for 2006. J-Squared and Hudson promise this is the very last time they will throw down with one of their hip-hop holiday mix discs. They mash up all kinds of stuff from the Anita Kerr Singers to Free Design, Mr. Lif to Free Design, Force MDs to Princess Superstar, Clarence Carter to James Brown and more. Check out the full song roster for all three discs at their website. UPDATE: Website seems to have gone away.

Christmas Rap, various artists (Profile)

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Chrisrap.jpgHere's a long-out-of-print budget compilation of holiday rap from the early days, put together in 1987. I haven't been able to grab one of these for myself, but given the number of folks who have tipped me to this, I figure it's worth a mention. Run DMC's "Christmas in Hollis" kicks this off, and there's also "Let the Jingle Bells Rock" by Sweet Tee, "Dana Dane Is Coming to Town" by Dana Dane, "Ghetto Santa" by Spyder D, "Christmas in the City" by King Sun-D Moet, "Chillin' With Santa" by Derek B., "He's Santa Claus" by Disco 4, "That's What I Want for Christmas" by Showboys and "A Surf M.C. New Year" by Surf MC's. Sometimes there's a used copy on Amazon. UPDATE: Einar Hedman from Linköping, Sweden corrected the release date above, which means there might be a vinyl version of this out there somewhere too.
quadcity.jpgThis hip-hop compilation from 1996 features more party-oriented music than a lot of rap holiday collections. There's more singing on this CD, the beats are consistent and the arrangements are tight. "Alone" by Joni featuring 24K is a medium ballad about being just that on Christmas Eve. The 69 Boyz talk about "What You Want For Christmas," which may still include a 12-disc changer but almost certainly doesn't include "nine Sega tapes." A remix of the song appears later on the disc. "Where Dey At YO!" is Knock singing about "the real men" who "don't sell drugs" and "stay home with me sometime." Big Dave and Tina reconstruct the standard "White Xmas" in their own hip-hop arrangement, and the album closes with a brief remix of it. "Da Jam" is a fast rap by UndaAged -- too fast for me to get much of the lyrics, unfortunately. "Xmas Blues" by BigTyme (no, not Dick Cheney) is a talker over a blues background. This is pretty good overall, even non hip-hop fans should be able to enjoy this.
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