What is the main point that you want people to take from XL Life?
This book is about a person that overcame. Sometimes you gotta think that you’re the person that makes it to where you want to get to. I could’ve easily become the statistic, but I played the hand the best way that I could. I think anyone that’s grabbing this book, whatever position and whatever situation that [they’re] in, if [they] work hard enough and [they]’re smart enough, they can achieve what [they]’re looking for. Turn your ears down on the negativity and all the “you’re not gonna make it” and then know how to control and turn your volume up when you get around the right circle of people that put that positive gas in you.
Now that you’ve released a health-conscious memoir, what are you thoughts on health in hip-hop? Has it been an important topic to the community, or is it just now catching on because of the number of untimely deaths?
I’m hoping that we do recognize that a lot of our soldiers are passing on. Some that are passing on are getting sick from preventable situations that we put ourselves into. Hopefully we’re understanding that if Rick Ross is having a seizure, he’s not just having a seizure just because. It’s something behind that. If Big Pun had a cardiac arrest, there’s something behind that. I remember [when I was talking to Scarface one day and he was telling me how bad and high his blood pressure was at the time. I’m not on a mountaintop screaming down, and I don’t think cats gotta make raps about eating your veggies, but we kinda rule by example. Not that it’s a bad thing, but we’ve told so many people what to do as far as how to make it rain, but we’re not telling anyone [that] we need to take care of ourselves. It’s mandatory that we go to the doctor. One ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure.
Let’s switch it up and talk about the agreement between you and Will Smith.
That was before my surgery. Will came to do an interview for one of his movies in 2002, if I’m not mistaken. We were sitting down talking, and Will asked me, “How old are you?” I think I was like 31 [or] 32 at the time. He said, “Man, what about your weight? What about your heart?” You already know that you’re morbid obese, living unhealthy.” He was like, “Why don’t we do this weight loss challenge, where I’ll pay you $1000 per pound for charity?” I was like, “Alright, cool.” Even then, it wasn’t just about weight loss and my health. It was more like, Man, I can have Will Smith on for six months. I was thinking radio. So I ended up losing 111 pounds with Will; he donated $111,000 to our charity. That’s when I started to put the weight back on. I knew that with putting that weight back on that I was playing with my life. It was roulette. That’s what really made me start researching the procedure. It was Will that kicked that off, and he’s still a good dude to this day.
So do you have any plans for a second book, telling the rest of your story?
As a matter of fact, I do. I’ve got two books in mind. But I’m gonna let this one live first. I didn’t have an idea for the first book, but now I’ve got two concepts in mind that I can take off with. [But] these are more celebrity, more lifestyle kind of stuff.