Album: Kurtis Blow, Christmas Rappin' 12" (1979)

As you surely know because you read our Best Hip-Hop Producer Alive, Every Year Since 1979 list from the beginning (didn’t you?), “Christmas Rappin’” had an origin story far more fiscal than artistic. Two Billboard writers saw the checks one of their co-workers got for writing Christmas songs, and wanted in. So they penned a rap version of “A Visit From St. Nicholas” and got a charismatic MC named Kurtis Blow to recite it, throwing on some of his own party rhymes at the end. But however cynical its start, the results were magical. The song was a hit from winter 1979 straight through to the spring of 1980, and it made Kurtis the first major-label rap star. To this day, almost forty years later, all it takes it hearing Kurtis interrupt Clement Clarke Moore’s nineteenth-century poem with a “Hold it, wait, hold it. That’s played out” to set off any holiday party. —Shawn Setaro