TLC are an iconic hip hop group that changed the genre during the 1990s. With their melodic R’n’B-infused rap and quirky looks, from ‘No Scrubs’ to ‘Waterfalls’, the girl group undeniably had hits. However, one of their overlooked hidden gems is their festive Christmas track ‘Sleigh Ride’.
Although a lot of rappers within the scene may consider hip hop Christmas songs a bit “corny”, for many, they are sweet, and it is refreshing to hear these often traditional songs re-imagined and delivered in a way that is perhaps more relatable for them.
Released in 1993, TLC did a fantastic job with ‘Sleigh Ride’. Although it is, technically, a cover of a well-known Christmas track composed and written by Leroy Anderson. TLC’s rap and R’n’B version of the track, with its added synthesizers, bass and oddities, is so far gone from the original composition that it has, in a sense, become uniquely their own.
Featuring the required rattle of jingle bells, the tune of distant church chimes and some choir chanting for good measure, ‘Sleigh Ride’ is the kind of Christmas track that you want to hear over and over again. The type that gives you the warm fuzzy festive feeling you crave.
Produced by Organized Noize and co-produced by their former manager, Pebbles. The ‘Sleigh Ride’ TLC created (despite some occasional references) features a completely fresh set of festive lyrics. With true ingenuity, the trio reworked practically every part of the track and hit fans with what turned out to be a classic.
Despite the popularity of TLC’s version of the carol, they never performed it live in the lifetime of the late Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopes. However, in 2016, T-Boz and Chilli, the two remaining members of the group, got to perform the 1993 track with the help of Missy ‘Misdemeanour’ Elliott on Taraji’s White Hot Holidays Christmas TV Special. You can watch the legendary performance in the video below.