In Holiday Spirits: 6 Hip-Hop Artists Share Thankful Moments Of 2017

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With summer now a distant memory and autumn having forced us to exchange our T-shirts and jackets for hoodies and coats, the holiday season is in full swing. And while many may already be looking forward to meeting the bearded guy riding a sleigh, you’d be remiss to gloss over Thanksgiving, one of the more important holidays of the year and cherished within the hip-hop community.

A time for family and friends to come together and share their gratitude for all that they’ve been blessed with, Thanksgiving is one of the more festive days of the year.
So with Turkey Day right around the corner, VIBE spoke with a few rappers and entertainers about what they’re thankful for this year, their favorite Thanksgiving memories, and what the holiday means to them.

CREDIT: Getty Images

Murs

From: Mid-City, Los Angeles, California

What moments from 2017 are you most thankful for?

I’m just thankful for my new wife. We’ve been through a lot this year and I’m just thankful that we’re still together and stronger than ever. I got married this year, so I’m grateful for her. We’ve had some crazy stuff happen, but we’re still standing and we’re expecting a child, so I’m grateful for that.

What music do you remember your family listening to on Thanksgiving Day?

Man, my mom played a lot of Phoebe Snow, that was her favorite artist. Phoebe Snow’s greatest hits was something she played a lot. Anita Baker’s “Rapture,” and then my stepfather now, he plays a lot of Motown. He plays all the documentaries on The Temptations, The Four-Tops and to anybody who comes over for Thanksgiving, he gives them a whole history lesson. A lot of Motown and then a couple of my mom’s favorites from when I was younger.

What’s your most memorable Thanksgiving moment?

Spending Thanksgiving with 9th Wonder and his family ’cause they welcomed me. Like, when we say we’re brothers, that’s my brother, so his mother, his father, spending time with their whole family was great. And his dad, one year, it was cold and I didn’t bring a coat, so he went to his house and he gave me my first leather coat. Being from California, we never needed leather coats, so I never had one. [He was like] ‘you ain’t got no leather?’ And he went to the crib and gave me one of his old leather coats. I still got that joint ’til this day. And then we spent one [Thanksgiving] with his wife’s family, which was dope.

When I’m touring, I’m usually touring in the fall. We’ve had a lot of Thanksgivings where my mom would cook for the whole tour. We had a Strange Music Thanksgiving and everybody that was signed to DD172, Damon Dash’s label, we had all that at my grandmother’s house one year and that was memorable. The merch guy, the tour manager, the bus driver…my family would cook for everybody and everybody would sit down, to celebrate the real meaning of Thanksgiving besides an American’s day off from work, have family time to get together. I was really just happy that my work friends could see us and, you know, just mix my worlds together.

CREDIT: Getty Images

 

 

Phonte

From: Greensboro, North Carolina

What moments from 2017 are you most thankful for?

I think, probably for me, definitely something to be thankful for is being married. Me and my wife were just married a week ago today from the time of this interview, so definitely just being thankful for that. I’m thankful for having a supportive beautiful woman in my life and seeing what a healthy marriage looks like and being an active participant in that. That’s something that I’m definitely thankful for, probably above all else.

I’m just thankful to still be able to succeed in my career. Being 15, 16 years in the game and still being able to make music I wanna make, call my own shots and just still exist in a space that works best for me. I think that’s something that is certainly worth giving thanks for.

What music do you remember your family listening to on Thanksgiving Day?

During the Thanksgiving holiday, my family likes to sing and this is all to varying degrees of talent [laughs]. My mother, she likes to sing and she’s pretty good singer, so we always do karaoke at our Thanksgiving. Me and my mom will perform “Where Is The Love,” by Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway, we’ll sing that one. My uncle, who was a huge Prince fan, he’ll sing “The Beautiful Ones” by Prince, which is one of the most hilarious things you’ll ever see in your life [laughs]. But other than that, it was just classic soul. We all like to sing and music has always been a big part of my life, so for our Thanksgiving, that’s what we do. We always would do some type of karaoke.

What’s your most memorable Thanksgiving moment?

I would say, without a doubt, probably the most memorable Thanksgiving I’ve had was last Thanksgiving. My oldest uncle, Uncle Mike, he had gotten shot in a robbery attempt probably a couple of days or like a week before Thanksgiving. He ended up dying on Thanksgiving Day. Even though he passed, we still came together as a family and we still had a really good time and we still celebrated. And in light of that tragedy and in light of losing him, we still moved forward and it was a beautiful thing. It was something that was certainly bittersweet, but we still had each other, we still had love, we still had a great time. That was, probably to date, my most memorable Thanksgiving for a lot of reasons, both good and bad. It was a beautiful day.

CREDIT: Dark Knight Ent

 

 

 No Malice

From: Virginia Beach, Virginia

What moments from 2017 are you most thankful for?

I lost a great aunt in Tennessee, where my dad is from. I went with my dad to Chattanooga, Tennessee and I just had a chance to see cousins and great aunts and just family members that you don’t get to see too much and spend time with them. They shared stories and I got to ask questions like how my grandmother grew up and I got to see things like where my dad went to school, his old neighborhood, some of his old friends and just get to find out a bit about how your parents grew up.

It wasn’t that I didn’t know anything. Any time you get a chance to take a break out of your busy life, you know how we all get caught up with our lives and it gets busy, you have to stop and take that moment of reflection. There’s always some gem or treasure that you get to experience. It almost makes you feel guilty that we don’t call people that we should take time out to call or check on ‘em or even send a card or send a text or things like that. So I’m very grateful for the time I got to spend with my family that lives in Tennessee and it kind of put in my mind that I have to strive to do a better job at keeping tabs.

What music do you remember your family listening to on Thanksgiving Day?

Wow, that [Chic] Good Times joint. I think it was about the same for every black family, the Thanksgiving holiday season. I definitely remember The Temptations being played, especially “Silent Night,” for the way it ended. The Temptations, Marvin Gaye…whenever black families get together, you know what they play.

What’s your most memorable Thanksgiving moment?

I remember just getting together and gathering around the table and just being with family and my older brother, Charles. He’s silly like me. When my dad would lead us in grace over the food and it was just so silent and we knew, we’d peek at each other and be like who’s gonna be the first to bust out [laughing] during the grace. It was so challenging because my dad ain’t play that stuff. My dad don’t play no foolishness, no silliness, none of that, but that was the official Thanksgiving Challenge: saying grace and it being quiet. And it would always be one of us that bust out smirking, and then when you smirk or you giggle, you turn it into a cough so you don’t get into trouble and all that and that happened like ever year [laughs].

CREDIT: Getty Images

 

 

Skyzoo

From: I’m from Brooklyn NY. I was born in Crown Heights but raised in Bed Stuy/Clinton Hill.

What moments from 2017 are you most thankful for?

I’d say the successes that I’ve been blessed with this year. Headlining tours in Europe and South Africa 5 times over in the past 9 months, my ghostwriting work, the major motion picture Patti Cakes hitting theaters nationwide that I did consulting work on, starred in and was an associate producer on…there were some life changing moments in my personal life. I can go on and on.

It’s been the most blessed year of my life. I’m obviously humbled by it all. Those moments changed my life immensely, because they’re things I’ve worked for, been fortunate enough and blessed enough to have, and some were just gifts from God. All in all, I’m humbled by this year. Thanksgiving dinner is gonna include long prayers [for] this year. Indeed, long prayers and Patti Pies.

What music do you remember your family listening to on Thanksgiving Day?

Musically, we listened to a lot of jazz in my crib growing up. My pops was big on smooth jazz, Ronnie Jordan, Wayman Tisdale, Sade, Anita Baker, etc., definitely a lot of soul. Earth Wind and Fire, Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield… All of that played a part in how I approach my music.

What’s your most memorable Thanksgiving moment?

Any Thanksgiving with me going down South to visit family. The majority of my family is from South Carolina, so any time I’m down there visiting my immediate and extended family is always a favorite. Specifically though would probably be when I was 15 and I cut the turkey for the first time. Being one of the few kids in my hood to grow up with his pops, things like being taught how to cut the turkey and having that tradition passed down to me means a lot. Sounds light but things like that, tying a tie, driving, all things I learned from having my pops in the crib my entire life. I don’t take those things for granted.

CREDIT: Getty Images

 

 

Tray Chaney

From: Originally from PG County (Forestville, Maryland) to be exact; Repping Washington D.C. to the fullest (DMV)

What moments from 2017 are you most thankful for?

A great moment for me this year was being cast as the character “KENDRICK” for Bounce Tv’s No. 1 show Saints & Sinners which is currently in it’s 3rd season. The affect it had on me was just showing me that if you work hard and trust God’s timing, things will fall right into place at the right time! I’m thankful to be living. I’m able to provide for my wife and kids while pursuing my dreams and watching them pursue their dreams as well.

What music do you remember your family listening to on Thanksgiving Day?

Yo, it’s so crazy because the first artist that comes to mind is Babyface, the Tender Lover album & New Edition’s Heart Break album. My parents loved those artist. They would also mix it up with some dope late 80’s 90’s hip-hop music as well. Big Daddy Kane, LL Cool J, Run DMC, Eric B & Rakim. I still listen to specific music around Thanksgiving with my wife and kids to remind me of my dope childhood.

What’s your most memorable Thanksgiving moment?

My most memorable Thanksgiving moment was in 2004. I was preparing to marry my queen Ayesha Chaney who I’ve been married to going on 13 years, as of November 24. It’s a moment because our families including the ones that lived out of town would be in town. We were already together and Thanksgiving always fell on a couple days before or after or during the week of such a highlight of me and my wife’s life!

CREDIT: Getty Images

 

 

Problem

From: Diamond Lane, by way of Compton, California

What moments from 2017 are you most thankful for?

[There are] Not really moments. It’s more than that. Reuniting with good people. Rediscovering myself and just gaining a new perspective on things has been the true root of what I’m thankful for.

What music do you remember your family listening to on Thanksgiving Day?

The Jacksons, The Temptations, The Isley Brothers…all soul music.

What’s your most memorable Thanksgiving moment?

Uhhh…I actually found out I had a one year old daughter in the mail 6 Thanksgivings ago. My mom was giving me some unopened mail she stumbled on to. I opened up a huge yellow envelope and read the news. I immediately called the mom, drove to her house and saw Aeryn. I looked at the princess and knew off bat she was mine!

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