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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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Yumm: Chick-fil-A Considers Adding Vegan Options To Menu

Chick-fil-A will jump into the growing market of vegan fast food with the addition of vegan options to their menu.

Speaking with Business Insider Tuesday (May 14), Senior Director of Menu Development Amanda Norris has looked into the idea of more meat-free options for several years. The only meat-free options on the current menu are their fruit cups and signature waffle fries.

“We’re definitely aware, and I would say we’re always interested in, what’s happening in food,” Norris said. “Specifically … a vegetarian option or a vegan option is something we’re looking at, we’re thinking about, and have (done) some (research and development).”

Norris added it normally takes about 18 to 24 months for a new item to appear on the menu so the idea of a vegan Chick-fil-A sandwich won't be available just yet.  "I think it's good. People like a lot of different choices," Chick-fil-A customer Carl Smith told Atlanta's WSB-TV, where the food chain was first created. "As long as they keep their standard favorites, I think having more choices is good, too."

Chick-fil-A is just one fast food giant who is jumping on the vegan wave. KFC recently announced plans to sell vegan chicken sandwiches while Burger King, Carl's Jr., Del Taco and Taco Bell have vegan options.

But it's hard not to credit the popularity of Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat for giving customers healthier options. It's also secured a few bags. CNBC reports demand for meat substitutes made a cool $1.44 billion in 2018 with Euromonitor International predicting the number will reach $2.5 billion by 2023.

Impossible Foods also announced Monday (May 13) their funding has reached $300 million. The company partnered with the likes of restaurant chains like Counter Burger and White Castle. Even Ghostface Killah has shared an appreciation for the Impossible burger.

"It's dope. The first time I tried it was in Brooklyn. You could have sworn you were eating regular meat," he told VIBE in 2018. "I had to really ask them and they said, "Yes, it's really a plant-based food." It's the best plant-based vegan food that I've ever tasted, ever."

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Kush & Splendor: 5 CBD Beauty Products That’ll Take Your Self-Care Routine From 0 To 100

Lotions, creams, and salves—oh my! With cannabidiol (CBD) popping up in just about every product you can imagine, the cannabis-infused beauty industry is clearly on the come-up. In fact, analysts predict that the “wellness” movement—as well as the legalization of Mary Jane across the world—will help rake in $25 billion globally in the next 10 years, according to Business Insider. That’s 15 percent of the $167 billion skincare market.

And what better way to up the ante on one’s wellness routine than with all-natural CBD? Just ask Dr. Lana Butner, naturopathic doctor and acupuncturist at NYC’s Modrn Sanctuary, who incorporates CBD in her treatments.

“CBD is a fantastic addition to acupuncture sessions for both its relaxation and anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving effects,” Butner shares with Vixen. “The calming effects of CBD allows for patients to deeply relax into the treatment and really tap into the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for rest, digestion and muscle repair/regeneration.”

She adds that CBD’s pain-relieving effects are “far-reaching,” from muscular and joint pains to migraines and arthritis—and even IBS and indigestion.

The magic lies in CBD’s ability to impact endocannabinoid receptor activity in our bodies. Without getting too wordy, our bodies come equipped with a system called the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is the HBIC over our sleep, appetite, pain and immune system response. Also known as cannabidiol, CBD teams up with this system to help reduce inflammation and interact with neurotransmitters. According to Healthline, CBD has also been scientifically shown to impact the brain’s receptors for serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for regulating our mood and social behavior.

All that said, it’s important to note that not all CBD products are created equal. Many brands cashing in on the green beauty wave use hemp seed oil, sometimes referred to as cannabis sativa seed oil, in place of CBD... which doesn’t make them any less great! Hemp seed oil is actually high in antioxidants, amino acids, and omega-3 and -6 fatty acids—all of which are thebomb.com for your skin.

“It’s generally viewed as a superfood and is great for adding nutritional value to your diet,” Ashley Lewis, co-founder of Fleur Marché, told Well and Good last month. “In terms of skin care, it’s known as a powerful moisturizer and skin softener that doesn’t clog pores or contribute to oily skin.”

However, when companies start marketing CBD and hemp oil as one-in-the-same, that’s when things get a bit tricky.

“The biggest issue is that hemp seed oil and CBD are two totally different compounds that come from different parts of the hemp plant, have different makeups, and different benefits,” Lewis added. “Marketing them as the same thing just isn’t accurate and does a disservice to consumers who are expecting certain benefits that they won’t get from hemp seed oil and who are often paying more for what they think is CBD.”

So if you’re looking to benefit from the perks specifically attributed to CBD, make sure you’re reading labels before buying, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Hell, ask for a product’s test results, while you’re at it. It never hurts to be sure.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, are you ready to see what all the hype is about? For this 4/20, we rounded up a few CBD (and hemp!)-infused products to help give your self-care routine a bit of a boost. Looks like your holiday just got that much kushier. You’re welcome!

Note: Data and regulations surrounding CBD and its use are still in development. That said, please don’t take anything written in this post as medical or legal advice, and definitely double check the laws in your state. Also, please do your body a favor and hit up your doctor before trying any new supplements. We’re just tryna look out for you. Okay? Okay. Read on.

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Jamie Foxx and Grey Goose take over The Times Square Edition bar to Live Victoriously launch event.
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Jamie Foxx Takes Over Grey Goose Happy Hour, Announces Comedy Tour

Leave it to Jamie Foxx to take over a New York City happy hour. To celebrate the launch of Grey Goose's latest campaign, Live Victoriously, the actor and comedian made a surprise appearance at The Time Square EDITION Hotel on Tuesday (April 16).

As attendees were treated to after-work cocktails like "Angel of Music" (Grey Goose vodka, sparkling rosé, and lemon cardamom) and "The Grey Goose Martini" (Grey Goose vodka, dry vermouth, orange bitters with a twist of lemon), Foxx walked behind the bar, took over and mingled with attendees. Bar-goers joined him behind the bar, danced, showcased some dancing and rapping talents on the impromptu "Grey Goose Idol" and jammed out to songs like "Blame It" (feat. T-Pain). Later in the evening, Pepa of Salt-N-Pepa made an appearance, Foxx cracked jokes and announced his upcoming, Kill the Comedian Tour, his first stand-up tour since his last comedy special in 2003.

As Jamie busted throwback moves behind the bar with bar-goers, comedians Aidy Bryant of Shrill and SNL’s Colin Jost made surprise appearances at Brooklyn's Extra Fancy and the Financial District's Underdog. Bryant and Jost performed spontaneous stand-up comedy routines and played a small game of sending selfies to each other.

Scroll through more photos from Jamie Foxx's appearance at Grey Goose's Live Victoriously event down below. Like Foxx wrote in his Instagram post, "Sometimes you gotta turn up on a Tuesday" and celebrating life's small, everyday moments.

Turning a random Tuesday into a night to remember. This is how to #LiveVictoriously ✌🏽. @iamjamiefoxx pic.twitter.com/IOdb58NWNw

— Grey Goose (@GreyGoose) April 17, 2019

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