James Brown once sang “Santa Claus Go Straight to the Ghetto.” Certainly, that’s not always the case. But as many Hip-Hop and R&B stars will tell you, there are memories of all sorts. From the shoreline of Coney Island to the traps of Bankhead, AllHipHop asked various personalities to reflect on the nicer things they’ve received from loved ones over the years. In a culture oft accused of materialism, it’s interesting to hear the things that mean the most often come without the pretty packaging. As it would seem, whether Santa Claus is dippin’ corners or it’s simply the Christmas spirit, generosity never goes forgotten.
AllHipHop.com: What’s the best / most thoughtful gift someone ever gave you on the holidays?
Big Kuntry: Hannah [from Grand Hustle] bought me a Gucci wallet. I’m cheap.
Big Tigger: I’d have to go back to when I was smaller, my grandmother sent me a nice check one time when I was almost dead broke in college. Honestly I’d have to say that because now I don’t get gifts they just be like, “You got everything,” and I don’t. [Laughs]
Bobby Valentino: I might have given the best gift. I bought my mom a car last Christmas – a Lex Coupe. She was happy. She still talks about it to this day, so I don’t gotta get her a gift this year.
Dame Grease: I think underclothes like socks, t-shirts, and boxers are the best gifts. They’re simple, but thoughtful.
DDT (Snoop Dogg producer): When I was a kid, my parents got me a little portable turntable that I carried around everywhere playing 45’s on. I wish I still had that thing.
Dr. Teeth: I have a little boy, so my son would draw me one of those pictures of presents and stuff. I keep those, those are thoughtful.
Ill Bill: Danny Boy [of House of Pain fame] just bought a pair of Jordan III’s; the white, black and fire red-colored shoes for my daughter. That’s by far the illest s**t, even if it’s for my daughter. Truthfully, the illest gift was her, since she was born nearly a month ago. Bringing life into the world is such an amazing gift. I’ve had friends that told me it’d be a life changing experience, and I didn’t believe it until now.
Jin: Around Christmas time one year, I had got arrested for driving with a suspended license. A good friend of mine bailed me out immediately, and he got on some “Merry Christmas, fool!” That was thoughtful of him.
Killer Mike: The nicest gift I’ve ever been given was a picture of me and my late grandfather. My younger sisters, LaShunda and Lovie, gave it to me. It was special because he raised us like a father, and at that point in my life, I had everything else I wanted. The one thing that ate at me was, he was not here to see [my success]. That picture makes me feel glad though – I still got him here, and he sees what I’m doing and is proud of me.
Shawn Stockman: I’ve been fortunate enough to get a lot of fly gifts. The one that sticks out is when I was eight years old, knowing that mama was going through some hard times, I think I received almost every Star Wars toy that was out. She made miracles every year.
Sisqo: A plaque from my first album for selling four million. I was hoping that I did as good as Dru Hill had done in previous years. So when my album hit that four mark before Christmas, I was just blown away.
Terrence J (BET’s 106 & Park): For me growing up, my mom and step-dad struggled, and I remember I wanted the Hot Wheels, the big one you ride on. They couldn’t afford it. I had to be like eight, and they got that for me. The best Christmas gift is when you know that a person really put their heart in it, and went above their means. And this one time, my boys hooked me up with a stripper. I think I was eleven that year. [Laughs]
Young Dro: I think it was when my mom told me to pray.