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Dead Prez's Stic.Man On Why Hip-Hop Can Be Healthy Without Losing Its Swag

"If we grow up in communities that invest or embrace health, then more people will begin to talk about it."

Hip-hop fans may know stic.man from the hip-hop duo Dead Prez. What they may not know, however, is that the lyricist is also a purveyor of holistic living who aims to bring healthier choices into the urban lifestyle.

After a painful experience woke him up in regards to his unhealthy habits, Stic made sure to use his platform to not only keep up with better choices, but to also inspire his fans in the hip-hop community to do the same. With his wife, he started a lifestyle brand, RBG Fit Club, dedicated to “a street smart approach to healthy living” through five basic principles. The brand also spawned a record label division to amplify his “fit-hop” genre of music.

The Toyota Green Initiative coalition member spoke to VIBE at the Broccoli City Festival about the importance of hip-hop promoting healthier habits, as well as a bit about “fit-hop” and the RBG Fit Club.

VIBE: What inspired you to living life with a more holistic approach?
Stic: Long story short, I woke up one morning with gout in my left leg. I had been drinking, smoking, you know, hip-hopped out. So much stress, no rest, all of that. My ankle swole up and I went to the doctor, and he was basically like "I'mma put you on medication." My lady was like "you know, plants heal." The blessing in disguise was that I healed gout totally, naturally, through my diet, I got into kung-fu, became a long-distance running coach. Years later, seeing the value of taking responsibility just because of something I wanted to share with my platform.

What were some of the things besides drinking and smoking that you had to cut out?
Whoppers [Laughs], you know what I mean, cheap foods. It was tough, but the most important thing was my perspective. A lot of my early focus was what I'm against, and my perspective changed to what I'm for, and just being proactive. That's what helped me see. Instead of complaining, in a lot of ways, there's a few things I needed to do to make a difference. Once you do all of that, if you have a complaint, you'll make a complaint, but you should spend most of your energy trying to make a difference.

Has a holistic approach changed the way you approach music or the way you make music?
Yep. Most people know me from Dead Prez, but my favorite album that I created was called The Workout. It's 14 songs of a genre I like to call "fit-hop." It's where I brought those two worlds together, all of my holistic health experiences and my passion for hip-hop and real lyricism. Since that record, I stopped saying "n***a" in my music, I don't use profanity. It's still street, but it's proactive. I recognize the experiment they did on water. Dr. Emoto, a guy from Japan, he found out that if you speak different words to water, it reacts in either asymmetrical, beautiful ways, or dirty words. I said 'okay, I'm gonna test that,' and since then, my music has more context.

Tell me a little bit about the RBG Fit Club?
It's like "Red Black Green," or "Reaching Bigger Goals." RGB Fit Club is our holistic platform. We wanted to inspire people to be healthier. We have five principles: knowledge, nutrition, exercise, rest and consistency, and we focus on holistic health, which is health, love, hustle and play. Today, I'm a running coach, archery instructor, life coach, Qigong practitioner. My wife is the president and she's a nutritionist and a chef. We take all of our various practices, and we try to put it in action steps and bite-sized things that people can do, and share it with our brand. Whether it's online, workshops...we just did a workshop at the Kennedy Center last week, so we out here making contacts.

There's also a "fit-hop" playlist on the site. Who are some of the artists that you'd find on there?
Coach Nym is the newest artist on our RBG fit-hop label, you'll find him there. We also curated songs from classic artists who are already established, but when they were talking about health in certain songs. O.C., he's got a great workout song. It's packed! Nas, Snoop, there's so many different people, even Lil Wayne is on there.

Who are some of the artists today, the younger artists, who you enjoy watching motivate younger people to be smarter in general?
You know who I like a lot? I like Willow Smith. I think she's brilliant, sharp, edgy, and a leader. She's also an archer, so we've got that in common [Laughs]. I like Kendrick Lamar, I liked his new album. I really, really did. There's a millennial movement of very intellectual but also tangible minded people. Dynamic, they're experimenting how life can be lived in new ways, so I find myself following a lot of the younger crowd.

How else do you think music contributes to having a healthier lifestyle?
You know, the vibration of the music, everything is vibration. When you hear music at certain BPM's, some content, it creates chemical responses, even though consciously, we might not be aware of that, subconsciously, it does it. BPM's get your heart going, and certain ones calm you down. It's the same thing when it comes to when we listen to things around you. It goes into the subconscious even more. You have to be mindful of what you're listening to, because it affects our thinking long-term.

I don't know if you know, but Future's "Mask Off" is one of the hottest songs out right now, and the first three lyrics in the chorus are "Percocet, Molly, Percocet." How else do you think that hip-hop can embrace a healthier way-of-life?
[Laughs] right on. I'll tell you in two answers. One, we created for the first-time ever, a new element in hip-hop, we got it ratified. The 10th Element of hip-hop, which is health and wealth. Part of our work is to help hip-hop claim that part of its heritage. It started out as a healthy alternative to violence and disenfranchisement. That's what hip-hop was. But I think the job of the community is to invest in a healthy culture, because the rappers are coming out of communities of poor health, so we can't look at rap and isolate and blame it or expect it to be something higher than the community. If we grow up in communities that invest or embrace health, then more people will begin to talk about it. In the meantime, we make healthy the new gangsta, and our music is still strong, it's still got the bass and the 808 and everything that we like for the energy, but instead of putting Hennessy on top, we put green juice on top and balance it out.

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If You Haven't Heard, Beyonce And Peloton Have Partnered Up For The Culture

Beyoncé and  Peloton are uniting for the culture. To spotlight the annual Homecoming season celebrated at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) across the nation, the Grammy award-winning entertainer has signed a multi-year partnership with the global interactive fitness platform.

“Peloton and I both believe that the power of music can help uplift, motivate and inspire those on their fitness journeys,” said the Ivy Park founder in the official press release. “I’ve been a Peloton member for several years, and I’m excited to partner with a company that helps people, young and old, be the best versions of themselves, in an innovative and adaptable way."

To add to the unprecedented moment, students of select HBCUs (Bennett College, Clark Atlanta University, Grambling State University, Hampton University, Howard University, Morehouse College and Morehouse School of Medicine, Spelman College, Texas Southern University, and Wilberforce University) will be gifted with a 2-year Peloton Digital membership by the end of this month. "I’m proud to celebrate the students at HBCUs with this donation, to encourage them to find and embrace their own wellness regimens,” added Queen Bey in her statement.

The two brands have worked closely on the creation of themed workout experiences for Peloton's streamed fitness classes. The "Beyoncé Artist Series" class schedule kicked off this week with the On Demand cycling class "Beyoncé Two for One Ride" taught by the platform's two of Peloton's prominent Black instructors, Alex Toussaint and Tunde Oyeneyin. Other exercise classes include "Beyoncé Yoga Flow," "Beyoncé Full Body Strength," "Beyoncé Bootcamp," and more on the Peloton App —all taught by instructors of color. The last class will take place on Saturday, Nov. 14 at 10 am ET.

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Artist Hebru Brantley Collabs With Bombay Sapphire To Support Black Lives Matter Chicago

The front lines of various movements can be filled with not only the physical presence of people but also the creative spaces that support the way. Visual artist Hebru Brantley is adding to the Black Lives Matter Chicago organization with the help of spirits brand Bombay Sapphire. Brantley, a Chicago native, is world-renowned for his artistry. His images and symbolism of blackness gives colorful scenes of spirited aviation and flash worthy stylishness with his young Fly Boy and Lil Mama characters.

For his link up with the Gin brand, Brantley drew on more universal themes as stated in the press release for the union, it's "an extension of Stir Creativity, the global platform from Bombay Sapphire, the Hebru Brantley Limited Edition embodies the brand’s mission to inspire and awaken the creative potential within everyone." The 750 ML bottle went on sale on July 1st and retails for $26.99. A portion of the proceeds will help BLM Chicago in their efforts against racism.

Brantley spoke to VIBE on the collaboration, raising Black children and his place of inspiration. To purchase the collab bottle click here at Reserve Bar.

VIBE: How did this Bombay collaboration come about? 

Hebru Brantley: It all started with me being a part of the Artisan Series back in the day. I had a very successful Miami Art Week experience as a result, which was a turning point in my career. Since then, the brand has been a big supporter of my various creative ventures, like sponsoring the opening night of Nevermore Park, immersive art experience, and one of my most ambitious projects to date. Meanwhile, Bombay Sapphire approached me about doing a very special project, which was designing their first-ever artist-designed limited-edition bottle. I want it to inspire hope for a better future and shine a light on the courage and resilience of Black people in America. It felt only right that Bombay Sapphire and I were able to do this together to benefit Black Lives Matter Chicago, to support the critical work they do in fighting for racial justice in my hometown.

Despite COVID-19 and the country confronting systemic racial injustices, where you are drawing your inspiration from these days?

I've always drawn inspiration from film, TV, comic books, my culture, and history, so not much has changed there. What feels different is my motivation to get out what I create, there is an even greater sense of urgency for me now then there was before. I am grateful for the opportunity to uplift and inspire and I feel that my message really resonates with people now more than ever.

Speaking of racial injustice, we saw your Harper’s Bazaar editorial and as a father raising Black children, what are some conversations you're having with them that you didn't have growing up?

A lot of the conversations are the same or similar to the ones I had with my parents growing up. The only difference is that I was taught to be aware of racism and certain incidents felt historic. For my kids they're living in a racial justice movement, we are living part of history. The conversations and relevance to those conversations are true and current. They're on TV, on social media for my kids to see and experience firsthand.

Besides Bombay, what other projects are you working on?

I'm working towards a few exhibitions in 2021, brand collaborations, etc. We have some exciting things coming up, so stay tuned.

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DJ Snoopadelic, aka Snoop Dogg, performs at the Rookie of the Year Party during Pepsi Zero Sugar presents Neon Beach at Clevelander at the Clevelander South Beach on January 30, 2020 in Miami Beach, Florida.
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Snoop Dogg Is Dropping His Very Own Wine Bottle

Snoop Dogg will soon release his very own wine blend, thanks to his multi-year deal with Australian winery 19 Crimes owned by Treasury Wine Estates. The name of his first bottle? Snoop Cali Red.

"I've been a fan of this wine, and I'm excited to unveil my Snoop Cali Red this summer and share the experience with all my fans," said Snoopzilla in a press release. "It's one of the most successful brands in the market, so I'm more than eager to bring this collaboration to the world!"

TWE marketing vice president John Wardley added: "Snoop embodies the spirit of 19 Crimes – rule-breaking, culture creating and overcoming adversity. We are truly excited to partner with Snoop and welcome him to the 19 Crimes family. Snoop Dogg, an entertainment and California icon, is the perfect partner for 19 Crimes Snoop Cali Red."

The actual bottle's label is set to feature a photo of a hooded Snoop while the actual blend consists of 65% Petite Syrah, 30% Zinfandel, and 5% Merlot. As for how much a bottle will cost? $12 USD. "Snoop Cali Red" hits shelves in Summer 2020 at select wine stores. For more information or to locate a store near you, visit 19crimes.com.

Bonus: Earlier this month, a comedic rendition of Snoop Dogg's "Gin and Juice" made rounds on social media platforms. Watch it below.

 

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A post shared by VibeMagazine (@vibemagazine) on Apr 15, 2020 at 10:38am PDT

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