Hip-hop isn't exactly the most festive or friendly music in the world. Yeah, there's a smattering of Christmas rap songs -- although Run-DMC's "Christmas In Hollis" really isn't that good -- but on the whole, the genre has shunned the lure of the extended holiday season. But don't despair! Rappers never waste an opportunity to shout out thanks to their cohorts and colleagues, sometimes devoting entire songs to the gesture. So with Thanksgiving imminent -- and with the holiday being some sort of turkey-themed celebration of gratitude -- here's a heart-warming round-up of hip-hop songs that give thanks.
5. DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, "Another Special Announcement"
The original "Special Announcement" saw Will Smith and Jazzy Jeff very genially thanking those people who'd helped them to make their debut album, Rock The House (two ladies named Tina and Gina received special attention). Come the time for the follow up, "Another Special Announcement," and the duo turned the session into a call-and-response session, shouting out crew members like Ready Rock C and their bodyguard Charlie Mack. Too damn hype!
4. Roc Marciano, "Shoutro"
Roc Marcy's impeccable Marcberg set from last year was way too underground and off the radar to suggest that he was in any way resurrecting the art of the shout-out song, but "Shoutro" is a commendable modern example of the style. Marcy kicks a brief rap before running through a list of associates that, frankly, are so personal to him that you'd had to have grown up on his block to have any hope of unravelling the lineage and relationships. The melancholy piano sample seals the sentiment.
3. Atmosphere, "Travel"
A twist on the traditional thank you track, here Slug retraces the steps of a recent tour and shouts out the names and faces who helped the group along the way. The roll call includes a mix of regional indie artists (Atlanta's Micronauts, San Diego's DJ Fingers, and Aesop Rock and Mike Ladd in New York), and local faces, including "a kid called Dirty Dave" and his 30-pack of beer. A piano loop is also prevalent in the song.
2. Naughty By Nature, "Shout Out"
Totaling a whopping seven minutes of shout-out shenanigans, Naughty By Nature's third album's closing cut is a marathon thanks giving display. Over -- yup, you guessed it! -- a piano-laden groove, the group big up DJs and radio stations across the country (skip to around the two-and-a-half minute mark for the Bay Area jocks section). There's even a sung chorus to boot!
1. Ice Cube, "I Gotta Say What Up!!!"
Ice Cube's closing salvo on his Kill At Will EP perfects the shout-out form. It helps that Cube's taste in artists he respects is impeccable, but he also proves adept at coining catchy plaudits like, "I gotta say what up to Digital Underground and Humpty Hump 'cause he making more than Donald Trump!" The track also includes one of the great industry shout-outs: "I gotta say what's happening to my manager, Pat Charbonnet, and you know she don't play!" And to all the motherfuckers Cube forget? Y'all ain't did shit anyway, indeed.