Be Healthy

I was watching Rap City the other night (shout out to Petal at MuchMusic in T-Dot) and Timbaland was the guest host. I don’t normally speak on this sort of thing—but dude is looking fine. And not just cause he’s all diesel now, but cause he has that look people get when they are taking care of themselves.

It got me thinking. There’s so much emphasis on how violence is rampant in the hip-hop community, and how many lives are lost to it. But nobody really seems to be paying attention to the less dramatic story. Nobody is talking about the force that’s killing hip-hop softly—and that’s poor health.

The lifestyle that most people in the industry have is hectic, to say the least. Lots of time on the road, late nights in the studio and at shows, not much sleep, not much time for exercise, greasy food on the run, vats of alcohol, mountains of weed, coke, and x—not to mention risky sex with strangers and/or strippers (no suckas for love round here).

Plus shouldering the retarded levels of stress that come with success in this biz: cling-on groupies (Stans and Gold Diggers), vicious haters (internet and street), finances (industry rule #4080), the high school-like rumor mill, and the media. Add beef into the mix and what you have is a big old mess. And my guess is that most rappers, unlike a lot of other celebs who deal with similar pressures, are not at their shrink’s office every Tuesday afternoon trying to sort it all out. (Though I could be wrong on that one, you never know.)

All of this is one thing when you’re twenty (shout out to the 80s babies). But what happens when these same dudes start pushing forty? And what happens if—like 45 million other Americans—they don’t have health insurance at that point?

I started mulling all this over last summer when I was in Venezuela for a global hip-hop summit and I interviewed M1. We ended up talking about health and about the Grassroots Artists MovEment—a non-profit organization he helped to launch that basically functions as a worker’s union. Among other projects, G.A.M.E. runs a healthcare centre for independent artists.

“Health is one of the major issues facing artists today,” MI explained. “I mean, we drink nonstop. We smoke nonstop. We stay up all night. We have no healthy habits at all. Sooner or later that’s going to lead to degenerative physical conditions. We are going to need health care, and we are going to need preventative programs.”

Not to rain on anyone’s fun parade (“why everything that’s supposed to bad make me feel so good?”)—but it’s something to think about.

  • http://www.myspace.com/geoffdilkes G Off

    I think it also affects the longevity of rap careers. Look at someone like NORE who has put on a lot of weight, or Eminem, who seems to be fighting a much bigger battle right now with his health and addictions. These things take a toll and knock you off of your grind.

  • http://www.myspace.com/writeonpointmagazine janice

    This is so true. Take for instance Jim Jones. The man looks half dead most of the time and bloated. You can tell that all he does is smoke bags of weed, drinks large amounts of alcohol, and rarely sleeps.

  • http://xxlmag.com Bol

    Yeah, it takes a special kind of man to live like this and remain this productive.

  • http://XXLmag.com Brendan

    i love those common & masta killa Peta ads about “going veg”.

  • iw11

    yea. man these dudes need to stop rapping about that stuff ’cause it’s not cool. these kids are picking up bad habits. good looking on this one ma.

  • http://YAHOO 1 K.I.N.G W.A.T.R

    PLEASE LETS TALK BOUT THE REAL ISSUE HERE: WE WILL NEVER STOP SMOKIN WE WILL NEVER QUIT DRINKING. WE ALL BEEN DOIN IT FOR YEARS AND DONT SEE IT SLOWIN DOWN.THE WHITE POP KNOWS THAT WE ARE KILLING R SELFS AND WE DONT CARE AND THERES 2 WAYS TO HIDE STUFF FROM MINORITYS BOOKS AND PROGRAMS THAT COST MONEY. DO REALLY THINK THAT BLACKS R GOIN TO GET A GYM MEMBERSHIP FOR 399.00 A YEAR. I NO THIS BECAUSE IVE WORKED IN THE GYM INDUSTRY FOR ABOUT 6 YEARS. BROTHERS WANT TO WORK OUT FOR FREE NOT PAY TO BE HEALTHY. SISTERS DO IT MORE THAN NIJAS BECUASE WOMEN HAVE KIDS AND WANT TO LOOK GOOD FOR THERE SEEDS!!!!! I DONT NO IF WE COULD EVER GET THE POINT ACROSS #^#^#&*#(#&(&#*(#(#*(*##))#()#((#

    WE R NOT GOIN TO LIVE FOR EVER BUT IF WE CAN WORK OUT ON CARDIO(RUN,WALK,SPORTY) 3 TIMES A WEEK FOR 1 HOUR FOR 6 YEARS WE COULD ADD 10-15 EXTRA ON YOUR LIFE.

  • http://YAHOO 1 K.I.N.G W.A.T.R

    SPORTY=SPORTS

  • that girl

    word. and i don’t wanna get on that ‘blame hip-hop’ angle, but to think that hip-hop may play a role in perpetuating an unhealthy lifestyle to the average person is effed up too. (come now, remember the alize phase? hpnotiq? grey goose?)

    i don’t smoke very much and i’ve cut back on drinking as well, but to be honest, i wish there wasn’t as much pressure in the circles i run in to do so.

  • P-Matik

    Cosign on this one, Tara.

    It’s true that all of this product placement on things that will kill you over time is weak. I saw Timbaland at a club back home in VA a few months ago and he did look a lot different and “mighty healthy” (shouts to GFK).

    I expect the youngbloods to drink, smoke, eat poorly, and all of that stuff because young cats tend not to see the importance of treating your body correctly. It’s when the body starts “talking back” that people start paying attention.

    There are some rappers in the gym though, no one speaks much on it. I remember that Source article a few years ago about rappers that went veggie and why they did it. It was interesting hearing it from their perspective. I remember not that long ago when if you told someone you were a vegetarian (especially if you were black) people looked at you like a nutcase.