The @NPRHipHop Holiday Gift Guide 2014
It's the most wonderful time of the year ... that time whennext day delivery charges have become the bane of your existence. Just a guess — you're not done shopping yet, are you? Allow us to ease your load a bit with 10 thoughtful ideas for the hip-hop head on your list.
The Def Jam 30 Box Set
2014 was a big year for hip-hop's greatest record label. The current cast of characters celebrated the company's 30th anniversary with style and class all year long. First the brand new Def Jam 30 website, a big anniversary concert in Brooklyn, the re-release of the iconic Def Jam Varsity Jacket and most recently the month-long campaign of 30 of the game's most famous DJ's dropping Def Jam mixtapes every day through the month of November. Def Jam's 30th Anniversary box set finished off the banner year with a bang. One of the three CDs is a Rick Rubin curated disc titled "Selections from the Roots of Def Jam." The bundle also includes an T-shirt and a 16-page book penned by NPR Music-alum Dan Charnas. — Evan Auerbach
The statement socks trend picked up more steam in 2014. Even we got in on it. But it ain't no fun if the homie Snoop can't have none. Snoop Dogg collaborated with Happy Socks and debuted his own line of funkadelic socks. So if the host of your New Year's Eve house party is enforcing that godforsaken rule of taking off your shoes before you step on their hardwood floors you can rest assured that no one's sock game will be fresher than your Gin & Juice ensemble. Church! — Cedric Shine
Jaime and Mike released the critically acclaimed RTJ2 this fall and they've blessed us with an awesome online store filled with T-shirts and hoodies that bear their dope logo. This particular tee feels nostalgic; it reminds us of the '90s. As far as we're concerned, anyone wearing RTJ merchandise gets an underground hip-hop pass. That could come in hand for more people than you'd think. — Cedric Shine
Last year Earl "E-40" Fonzarelli introduced the world to his featuring unique flavors Mangoscato and Function Red Blend. This year Earl left the wine and cheese soiree for a backwoods liquor store off the beaten path that will serve his mixed rum cocktail. Think Mad Dog 20/20 or Cisco but with a Bay Area twist. This is one of those Christmas gifts you wrap chilled, so that, upon unwrapping, things get merrier that much faster. — Cedric Shine
No matter what your drink of choice is, you always need a place to set down your glass. Enter GoodWoodNYC, the pioneers of hip-hop themed wooden jewelry and accessories. The NYC-based company outdid themselves with this set of beautifully crafted wooden coasters designed and inspired by classic hip-hop album covers. These four bring Nas, Snoop, Biggie and Dr. Dre right into your home for the holidays. — Evan Auerbach
Bronx-born photographer Lisa Leone came in on the ground floor of hip-hop, camera in hand. Her new book is a stunning collection that captures the culture of music, dance, art and fashion throughout the early '90s. From The Fugees to Grandmaster Caz, Grandmaster Flash to Eazy E — Leone's lens snapped epic moments from coast to coast. There's a bonus, too, if you're hoping to stretch this gift out and you happen to be in the New York area around the holidays — until January 11th, some of the photos are on exhibit at The Bronx Museum of the Arts. — Evan Auerbach
Girls like rap toooooooooooo, so we wanted to recommend something for them here. Sleek, trendy and affordable, No Label watches have been making a splash on the fashion scene in hip-hop for the past year. Everyone from Rihanna to King Lebron James has been seen sporting the brainchild of Jayvon Smith (the neighborhood pest from Streets is Watching turned successful entrepreneur). These watches come in a bevy of colors for both men and women, but it's the Tiffany's one that you should put under your favorite hip-hop girl's Christmas tree this winter. — Cedric Shine
From the land of poppin' trunk, candy paint and wood-grain grippin — is there a better way to touch up your slab than with a Houston legend? Perfect for stuffing stockings, this Pimp C air freshener is sure to keep your car smelling fresh if you're riding dirty and have the boppers boppin'. — Evan Auerbach
No, these aren't your parent's holiday sweaters. But props to the guy or girl who cops this for their dad and gets a picture of him rocking it. (Hashtag it with #NPRGifts if you do!) There really aren't many clothing items like these Shredders Sweaters that are equally great for your office holiday party and the club. Word to Big Baby Jesus. — Evan Auerbach
20 years ago New York's golden child Nasir Jones released his timeless debut Illmatic, an album that revolutionized how hip-hop albums were made. Gone were the days of one producer per album. Nas and his all-star production team (Pete Rock, Q-Tip, Large Professor, DJ Premier and L.E.S.) created a cohesive body of work that's stayed on top. The documentary One 9 and Erik Parker made, Time Is Illmatic, explores all that went into Nas' magnum opus with candid stories from his brother Jungle, father Olu Dara, producers and friends who were in or around Queensbridge circa 1991-1994. The directors and writers did a fantastic job telling the story of one of hip-hop's most revered storytellers. The film is a must see for anyone who cares about hip-hop music and culture, even someone who thinks Jay Z really won the battle back in 2001. — Cedric Shine
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