• 23

    Yellowman – "A Very Very Yellow Christmas"

    Yellowman is one of the most popular, influential figures in dancehall reggae, with an easygoing quality to his vocals that suits a wide variety of material. So it stands to reason he’d be one of the few reggae artists able to nail an entire Christmas album. His 1998 release A Very, Very, Yellow Christmas featured some predictable, yet brilliant, reinterpretations of Christmas standards like “Yellowman Is Coming To Town” and “Children Saw Mommy Kissing Yellowman.”

    But Yellowman stretches on “African Christmas,” which uses the holiday as an occasion to check in with the entire continent of Africa, emphasizing how it’s neglected and how central it is to his culture. A lot of Christmas songs endorse peace and emphasize Jesus as the point of the holiday. But not many state it as directly as this: “We no want no hypocrite an’ parasite. No tribal war, stop all the fight. Throw down the gun an’ the bomb an’ the knife. Let’s get together and all unite. Christmas is the birth of Jesus Christ. Come people an’ sell him breth’ life.  Look at the Christmas tree, how it pretty and bright. Wrap it up, wrap it up with Christmas light.”