March 5, 2014


Hip Hop and Healthy Living

Johnny Nunez/WireImage
Johnny Nunez/WireImage

In hip hop, bigger is always better. That goes for everything, including body type. But lately, the game is looking a little leaner.

Jay Z and Beyonce went vegan for 22 daysDJ KhaledFat JoeJoell Ortiz, and others have dropped the pounds. After a seizure, Rick Ross, even wrote a song inspired by one his favorite healthy snacks. "When I did get out the hospital, the doctor told me I need to drink a little more water and eat more fruit, so for the next month, I was eating diced pineapples," the Bawse tells Fuse News.

Styles P, one third of the legendary rap group The Lox, took healthy to a whole new when he opened a juice bar in the Bronx. The self-proclaimed "best hardcore lyricist in the game" has been known for his love of the green, but this time, it means something different.

Living large doesn't mean that you have to be living XXL.

"My partner Nigel had a juice bar on 125th and I used to be a patron there," says Styles. "It used to be me and a few other dudes. It just changed my life so much I was like, I gotta tell everyone I know, 'Yo, you gotta juice up.'"

Styles knows the challenges of eating healthy in an urban community. "It's where you at," he says. "If you don't have anything available to eat healthy, you become programmed like a robot to go to the fried chicken spot, to go to the fast food spot."

D Dipasupil/Getty Images
D Dipasupil/Getty Images

Ernest Baker, writer at Beats Magazine, adds, "Lupe Fiasco made an album called Food and Liquor, speaking to the fact that on every corner in urban communities there is not a Whole Foods, but there is a place to get chips and soda." Plus there is the image issue. "A lot of people don't want to get into the healthy world cause they feel it's uncomfortable or people feel like healthy people are tree huggers, nerds, things like that," says Styles. "It's a lot of wrong thoughts; it's a lot of stereotypes with healthy people."

And it's not just his health. Styles says that his new lifestyle has improved his skills as an MC.  "You know, you want to be in your best condition, you want to be in your best shape to say, 'When I go to work, I'm giving it my all, I know I feel my best, I'm 110%.' That means a lot cause when you are at a show, you want your breath control right, when you are on that stage. When you are in that booth, you want your breath control right, when you are laying that verse, or you can be in there forever. You want your balance right, you want to feel aggressive, yet smooth. It all helps with the art of MCing."

And now living large doesn't mean that you have to be living XXL. "Rappers love to go left field.  When baggy jeans were all the rage, now jeans got tight. When it was junk food, that was the rage, now it was like, 'Let's switch it on everybody and get real healthy get in these nice restaurants and hit up Whole Foods,'" says Baker. 

"Hip hop baby! Hip hop is getting healthy," adds Styles. "Once hip hop is invested in something, it's on."

- Segment produced by Chay Lee
- Article by Alan Noah