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In 2006 Nas said that ‘hip hop is dead’. While this was his attempt to address the lack of power that the artist have, the metaphor is becoming more real every day for some of our favorite artist. Hip Hop as a whole, has never embraced or celebrated a healthy lifestyle. Let’s be honest it’s never been cool to say you “I’m in the club bottles full of Smart Water”. But as social media has placed fitness and health & wellness to the front of all of our eyes we’ve seen some of our favorite hip hop figures embrace a healthier lifestyle. But it’s a small minority compared to the majority who enjoy the ‘rockstar’ lifestyle that comes with the industry.
It’s one thing when we hear news from our favorite old school act that’s surffering from health complications, but when it’s a contemporary artist we seem to be shocked. We see our favorite artist as super heroes, we believe their superlative bars. It’s not until that TMZ headline or post on Baller Alert that we take pause and think about our favorites as mortals. Take Phife Dawg for example, who recently passed away from complications from diabetes . A disease that 26 million Americans are living with diabetes; of that number, 4.9 million are African-Americans. In the 2011 Documentary Beats, Rhymes, & Life: The Life and Travels of A Tribe Called Quest Phife said of his love of sweets: “It’s really a sickness … Like straight-up drugs. I’m just addicted to sugar.”
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Or take Rick Ross and Lil Wayne who have had several seizures in the last few years. Although not confirmed it has been speculated that their constant diet of Promenthazine and codiene(Lean) caused these seizures. Promethazine can lower the threshold for seizures in certain circumstances. So sometimes these health issues are self-inflicted bad habits that are products of the Hip Hop lifestyle.
Then other times it’s a matter of chance and statistics, such as the case with former Hip Hop attorney and current podcast staple Reggie Osse aka Combat Jack of the Combat Jack show. Jack has recently announced that he has been battling colon cancer that he is starting to undergoe chemo therapy this month. He has received a lot of support on social media with his fans/followers using hashtag #combatcancer
But one prevalent theme that seems to be coming to the forefront to this latest generation of rappers is the increase of mental health and depression. Kanye West to Kid Cudi, Future to Lil Uzi Vert today’s biggest stars have said on and off the mic that they are dealing with depression and different pressures related to being in the spotlight. While others may self-medicate with non-prescription drugs, others have had to be checked into hospitals for different episodes.
It only further shows that if we care about our artists we should also care about their well being as well. As the battle wages on in Congress about the future of healthcare it’s clear that it’s an issue that effects everyone, even your favorite rapper.
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