Down and out on Xmas: rappers share their holiday memories and reflect on 2007. This edition: Kia Shine tells VIBE how the crack epidemic affected his Christmas - and that this year, Santa's bringing him the best gift of all: a baby.Kia Shine definitely remembers the days of when he didn't have a pot to piss in: a few years before the Memphis rapper was so krispy, he spent time homeless in the streets. On the eve of Christmas and a nearing 2008, Kia reflects on 2007, gives praise to the man above, and lets VIBE in on what Christmas gift is sure to have him gasping for air.
VIBE: What was the highlight of 2007 for you?
KIA SHINE: 2007's highlight, or course, was definitely getting a national single out there with the record "Krispy." Also being able to start a new year off with "Wow," a new video that I shot and directed myself. "Wow" is really the highlight of my year, because it's really telling people that I'm more of a businessman. I've been telling people all year that I had records out before "Krispy." I sold 200,000-something records before I even had my solo deal. I signed acts like Yo Gotti. I broke acts out of Memphis. I'm a businessman. I've been screaming that to my label for the longest, but certain individuals still look at me as just an artist. So me shooting my own video, me taking it to MTV myself, me getting it played, of course, with the favor of the Lord, means more to me than anything.
To be able to go from being homeless a couple of years back, I had a couple of bad deals fall through for me. I had a distribution deal with TVT back in 2002. It was a bad deal. It didn't get paid for the 100,000 records I put out and sold. I pretty much lost everything that was going for me. And then being able to sign a new deal and being able to get a national single out there... It's just been a blessed year all around for me. It's a testament to how good God is.
What were your Christmas experiences like as a child growing up in Memphis?
My mom was a realist. I knew early on that there was no Santa Claus and that my mom was the person providing. My father wasn't there, and I had a stepfather that was on crack when the epidemic hit. To me, Christmas wasn't the best time, because we knew that my momma was just doing all she could to raise me, my sister, my brothers in one house. Early on, I had to be my own man. It was one of those things where I can probably only remember one or two years that I actually had a Christmas with a tree. That was when my stepdad was not on crack and our family was really running like a family. But after that crack epidemic hit, like in '88, '89, Christmas didn't mean much more than giving God praise and glory, the real meaning of Christmas. But as far as the gifts and the trees, we didn't have any of that.
Was there any Christmas that stands out as the best for you as a kid?
It was just those couple of years when we had a tree and a house and we had somewhere to stay and I go some gifts. I really didn't have any highlights as far as Christmas was concerned, to be honest with you.
What do you have planned for this Christmas?
This year my wife is pregnant. She's 17 weeks. That is pretty much the biggest Christmas gift I'm ever going to ever have with my true wife. And also, we got remarried on 7/07/07, so the coming of Christmas is like man; I got a whole family to be able to provide for, I go a tree up. My family in Memphis is going to be here to give presents to. My family in Seattle, which is where my wife is from, I'm going to be able to give presents to them this Christmas. Back in the day when I couldn't receive, it was just a blessing to be able to have my family together. Now I'm going to be able to be a giver this Christmas and be able to break those generational curses that were on my family around this time of year. It's always better to give than to receive, anyway.
What are you asking your wife to get you for Christmas?
I'll be honest with you, man. I was a huge game-head back in the day. One game that I've really been attached to is that [Nintendo] Wii. That Wii, I fuckin' love that system, dog, because you can actually play it and be a part of it, you know what I mean? When I was paying the tennis on Wii, I was dead out of breath. A lot if kids play these games and they don't really get any work out or blood flowing. That game gets the blood flowing. It's not for the couch potato gamer at all. For me, I just want that Wii. That's really it. As long as I get some peace and more of God's favors, I'm good.
What's your New Year's Resolution?
This year I want to prove myself as a businessman and continue to prove the haters wrong. In 2008, everybody that's sleeping on me is gonna wake up working for me. Understand that.
MTS Centre, Winnipeg - May 26, 2008
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