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    Christmas On Death Row

    Death Row Records is one of the most mercenary label imprints ever formed, so it stands to reason it’d put out a Christmas record. Like anything with Suge Knight’s name on it after 2Pac was killed, Christmas On Death Row, released just in time for Christmas 1996, is heavy on filler, but there are some great tracks here. On “Santa Claus Goes Straight To The Ghetto,” Snoop Doggy Dogg, Nate Dogg, Daz Dillinger, Tray Deee, and Bad Azz ride a sample from Isaac Hayes’ Shaft soundtrack to descriptions of their West Coast gangsta lifestyle that integrate Christmas seamlessly – and even incorporate a bit of social consciousness. Daz raps, “Some say to this day that Christmas ain’t nothing but another day, but, out of respect, I gotta give the Lord his day. Tell me, tell me, where do the homies and bums got to sleep? Where do hungry and the needy-greedies got to eat?” These are legitimate questions. On “I Wish,” Tha Dogg Pound laments how bleak life can seem at times before Kurupt concludes, “Christmas time. It’s time for chillin’, not killin’” – definitely a message that resonates this month.