Rappers stay scheming, getting lit, popping pills and ducking Zzzs. But such careless habits can leave anyone’s life on the line. Recent health scares have left Rick Ross and Nick Cannon in backless gowns, with overworking partially to blame. Hurts when breathe? Here’s how to combat hip-hop’s live fast, die young motto.
By Steven J. Horowitz, Clover Hope and John Kennedy
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START SHOOTIN’ IN THE GYM
Stuff Rappers Say: “I’m being lazy at the crib, kushin’ it up/I get enough exercise just pushing my luck.” —Drake, “Fancy (Remix)”
Want more than slight work? Shell out a monthly fitness fee, but if it’s far from convenient, then double up at home*. Former 50 Cent trainer Jay Cardiello kept the G-Unit general bulked up while globetrotting by converting hotel rooms into muscle-zapping hotspots. Emphasizing smaller portions and daily exercise journals, Cardiello breaks down how to flip common household items into body-sculpting tools.
1. Bed Head:
Ditch the wobble board—mattresses can moonlight as calf and quad blasters. Stand on a bed with one leg planted and the other one raised to your chest. This forces lower body muscles to gradually strengthen (it’s called proprioception training). Propping elbows on the edge of a box spring, while in a plank pose, also helps tighten flabby one-packs.
2. Slam Dance:
Weights aren’t needed to build your core and add bulges to biceps. Fill a water gallon jug halfway, wrap it in duct tape and slam it to the ground with your arms extended. The repeated action might set your upper body muscles ablaze, but masochism pays off. “What that does is create stability and balance,” says Cardiello. “But then it also gets the muscles to react.”
3. App Attack:
They’re not just great for sexting—smartphones can snap you into shape. Select from a broad list of instructional exercise videos with the Fitness Builder app, and buff up on cardio with Adidas’ running app miCoach or Nike Training. Watching your waistline? Download Fooducate to scan nutritional info on the go, or opt for Meal Snap, which guesses calorie count by analyzing your food flicks.
4. Ball Buster:
Cardiello preaches what he calls “regression to progression”—be childish by practicing basics and playing in teams. One method: Skip iron pumping and ball hard. “If you buy a 10-pound ball, men can explode it to the ground, do jumps, squat and pick up the ball and repeat. Women can do the same thing and do a jumping jack.”
Tool Tips: A Beginner’s Workout Kit
1. Dumbbells (5-25 lbs.) >> One lighter set for toning; one heavier for brolic sessions
2. Kettle bell >> Teapot shape helps steady momentum, doubling your lifting potential
3. Medicine ball >> Increases range of motion during total body drills
4. Resistance band >> Added tension forces muscles to clock overtime
5. Stability or BOSU ball >> Stabilizes core for balancing and gut-slaying moves
EAT WELL AND PROSPER
“I'm into fine fish with a slight lime twist, veggies on the side of course” —Rick Ross, “Yacht Club”
“Fish is a cold-water animal. It has vitamin D and omega fatty acids that help reduce your blood pressure and heart disease, as opposed to red meats, pork or chicken. It’s better to bake or broil instead of frying, which adds more fat. Citrus helps enhance any food, but limes have vitamin C, which helps increase your immune system, fight off disease, increase white blood cells and fight off certain bacteria.”
“I hit the liquor spot, then the chicken spot/Three pieces, French fries—I hope my shit still hot” —Mr. Muthafuckin eXquire, “Chicken Spot Rock”
“All animal products have cholesterol and saturated fats. The more you eat, the harder they are on your liver and organs to try and process it. It also raises your blood pressure and cholesterol. If you’re not eating organic beef and chicken, then you are subject to hormones and steroids put into those foods that can affect all kinds of things in your body, from cysts and growth to cancer.”
Let It Cook (Perfect Brown Rice Recipe):
For an instant body boost, swap white rice for Vitamin B-packed pretty brown. Instead of boiling the grains in a 2-to-1 water-rice ratio (per package instructions), use the pasta method of draining and steaming for fluffier results.
Ingredients: 1 cup short, medium or long-grain brown rice; Kosher salt, to taste
Instructions: 1) Rinse rice in a strainer under cold running water for 30 sec. 2) Bring 12 cups water to a boil in a large pot over high heat 3) Add rice, stir once; boil uncovered for 30 min. 4) Pour rice into a strainer over sink, let drain for 10 sec.; return to the pot, off heat 5) Cover pot; let rice steam for 10 min. Uncover, fluff with a fork and season with salt (Source: saveur.com)
NO MORE PATRON-ING TILL YOU PUKE
Stuff Rappers Say: “Gin got me drunk as fuck, stumbling out the bar/Plus I’m struggling tryna find the keys to my car” —Wiz Khalifa, “On My Level”
Are you drunk right now? No need for a Breathalyzer if you know how many gulps it takes to go from zero to chocolate wasted (the legal DUI limit in most states is .08). Here’s how to roughly estimate your blood alcohol content and set your sights on sobering up.
Weight: 120 lbs.
No. Of Drinks Consumed (Equivalent of 12 oz. beer or one shot): 4
Time Period: 2 hours
Man’s Approximate BAC: 0.10 | Woman’s Approximate BAC: 0.13
Plan Of Action: You’re close to, if not already displaying sloppy conduct. Avoid hopping behind the wheels and phone a friend*
Weight: 150 lbs.
No. Of Drinks Consumed: 6
Time Period: 2 hours
Man’s Approximate BAC: 0.13 | Woman’s Approximate BAC: 0.16
Plan Of Action: You’re legally intoxicated. Ditch the whip and crash with a pal
Weight: 180 lbs.
No. Of Drinks Consumed: 8
Time Period: 1 hour
Man’s Approximate BAC: 0.16 | Woman’s Approximate BAC: 0.19
Plan Of Action: You’re stumbling and bumbling, word to Walt Clyde Frasier. Call a cab, stat, and we don’t mean the beverage
(More info: bloodalcoholcalculator.org)
PRACTICE SAFETY FIRST
Stuff Rappers Say: “Like it through the back door, give it to her raw” —A$AP Rocky, “Bass”
Constant groupie love can have rappers riding dirty in the sack. It’s easy to get burned emulating their raw-dog ways. Grab a pencil (not that one) and answer these basic STD related queries to make sure you and your partner stay disease-free.
1. What are Rough Riders?
a) A wildly popular, late-’90s rap crew led by DMX
b) A type of mechanical bull
c) A brand of condoms immortalized by MCs and found in bodegas everywhere
answer key: c, a, c, b, a
2. Can you catch an STD through oral sex?
3. Which is the best cure for Herpes?
c) There is no cure
4. True or false: Wearing two condoms at once is safer.
a) True that; double up
b) Nah, son
5. Which of the following does the Pill help prevent?
a) Getting knocked up
b) STDs like chlamydia and gonorrhea
c) Zombie attacks
d) None of the above
PUT THOSE GRILLS ON ICE
Stuff Rappers Say: “My shirt is yellow, but the grill is gold” —Tyler, The Creator, “Fucking Lame”Grills are perfect for BBQs and SUV stuntin’, but rocking gangsta grills like A$AP can wear on your choppers. Dentist to the stars Dr. Bill Dorfman—who’s worked on Usher and Fergie’s mouths—shares tips on how to keep your Colgate smile shining.
“If a grill doesn’t fit well, you can scratch your teeth and pinch and deform the gums. A lot of people get them from make-up artists or prop people—that’s just not smart. If you insist on wearing one, go to a dentist who knows how to make them. Teeth are supposed to fit together a certain way. If you’re wearing a grill that’s not made properly, it can screw up your bite.
People who wear grills tend to stop taking care of their own teeth. You need to brush and floss every time you eat. Never eat while you’re wearing a grill, because you’ll mash against your teeth in a way that’s not natural. The other thing is oral hygiene—they smell bad. You need to soak it with an Efferdent tablet when you’re not wearing, and brush it to make sure all the bacteria is cleaned off. The less you wear a grill, the better.”
EMBRACE THE COUSIN OF DEATH
Stuff Rappers Say: “The money don’t sleep, so Weezy can’t rest” —Lil Wayne, “John (If I Die Today)”
Sleep is, er, slept on. Rappers often treat slumber as a time-suck, instead burning the midnight oil in studio sessions and clubs. The under-snoozed reap consequences—Rick Ross suffered two consecutive seizures from reported sleep deprivation, and catnap king Kanye West can barely stay awake in the lab. Retain these tips to keep those sheep clearing fences through the night.
Hustling Too Hard
Touring and after parties can keep revelry raucous until sunrise, but early morning call times can also cut the night short. Sleep specialist Dr. Matthew Edlund says rappers function like shift workers and need to settle into routine, be it evening siestas before a night out or powering off phones before bed. “The body is constantly regenerating itself,” he explains. “Make arrangements to have that process work.”
All Night Fiestas
Popping bottles of rosé throws a wrench into the body’s repairing cycle. Studies show that sipping adult beverages later in the evening can amplify alcohol’s effect on the body. “Watch out for the stimulants. Watch out for the depressants,” notes Edlund. “If you’re going to have drinks, maybe have them earlier rather than later.”
So Stressed, B
Stress is an inevitable byproduct of both the rap game and the real world, but it doesn’t have to cramp a good night’s rest. Edlund recommends starting a dance revolution to forget the day’s troubles (“Dance helps get you fit. That’s one of the great ways to deal with stress.”) Plan B: Roll out a yoga mat for some R&R*.
TRIPLE CHECK YOUR MENTAL HEALTH
Rappers often keep money on their mind yet neglect their mental state. Psychotherapist Mary Pender Greene fi elds artist queries to help them keep a cool head.
Q: My nightmares follow me long after sun up. How can I prevent rude awakenings?
A: Nightmares are usually a reaction to something else happening in your life. You can have a dream about snakes, but it doesn’t mean you’re dealing with snakes in the literal sense. The clearer you are about your issues, the less likely you are to continue to have those nightmares. Your self-talk greatly impacts your moods, so talk to yourself in a positive way. Write down something positive and stick it on the side of your computer. It’s about being conscious about what you’re saying to yourself.
Q: The cops hover around every corner in the ‘hood. Could that constant presence make one paranoid about authority figures?
A: It very much depends on what your experience has been with police. People often associate police presence with some form of danger. If you’re in a heavily patrolled area and they ask for your ID or to check what’s in your trunk or misidentify you as a criminal, those are unpleasant interactions. So obviously it makes you uneasy and vulnerable—racial profi ling plays a role in that. If your experience with the police is good, there’d be no anxiety connecting you to the police or authority.
DON’T F—K WITH MOLLY
Stuff Rappers Say: “Pop a molly, smoke a blunt, that mean I’m a high roller” —Lil Wayne, “Roman Reloaded”
What It Is:
Everyone from Kanye West to Gucci Mane to Wale has shouted out MDMA, known in the streets as “Molly,” an ecstasy relative that suppresses anxiety and invokes euphoria by manipulating the brain’s serotonin levels.
Why It’s Dangerous:
Flirting with the illegal substance has a price tag. Short-term effects can cause excessive sweats that induce hypothermia, while the addictive Ms. Molly can burn users with long-term brain damage and permanent memory loss (good golly). Rap’s hottest new sidepiece might keep the party turnt up, but you could feel her effects in the days—even years—to follow.