Remembering DMX's 'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer'

MIAMI BEACH, FL - DECEMBER 05:  DMX performs on stage at The Dean Collection X BACARDI Untameable House Party - Day 3 on December 5, 2015 in Miami Beach, Florida.  (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Bacardi)

Remembering DMX's 'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer'

DMX turned a holiday classic into his own. Let's revisit that magical moment, shall we?

Published December 24, 2015

Since it’s Throwback Thursday and Christmas Eve, it feels appropriate to recall a classic cover of a beloved carol about a little reindeer who was bullied for being different and (spoiler alert) went on to perform a reindeer’s highest honor of leading Santa’s sleigh on Christmas Eve. The cover was performed by DMX and it was amazing. 

Back in 2012, a bright Power 105 staff member took a risk. “So… I printed the lyrics of ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,’” she said, not knowing how Dark Man X would respond. He had just released his seventh studio album, Undisputed, and was recently off a few back-to-back years of trouble with the law. Fortunately for her and the world, DMX gleefully interrupted her. “I know the lyrics!” he exclaimed while throwing his right hand in the air to emphasize that he truly does know the lyrics.

The story of Rudolph is about overcoming adversity and eventually reaching his destiny. What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger. Right? The hardship, the struggle, hearing what Rudolph went through when the herd didn't let him play any reindeer games was enough to keep Dark Man's interest strong. It's a relatable story. Rudolph was laughed at by the other basic reindeer because of his glowing red nose, but in the end, it was his nose that made him great. Santa recognized real.

He began with the usual. “You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen. Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen.” The following part is what happens when the holiday spirit invades a lyricist. “But do you recall, the most famous reindeer of all… C’mon!” 

One thing you have to know about DMX’s “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” is that the ad-libs are what make it 100 percent more memorable. Forget the fact that DMX is rapping out a song that was first released in 1949 or that it’s a beloved song sung by kids from one to 92. “C’mon,” “uhhh,” “forever” and “what” are key players in this cover and it’s all strung together with DMX keeping the beat using his hands and the top of a table.

It's been three years since the Internet experienced a Merry DMXmas, holding onto hope that the cyber crowd's positive reaction would be enough to squeeze more Christmas covers out of the rapper. It's not too late, DMX. And since you asked at the end of the video, “Did I get the names right for the reindeer?” Yes, you did. All of Santa's eight.

You'll go down in history, X. Forever.

(Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Bacardi)

Written by Janice Llamoca


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