On August 11, 2023, hip-hop, one of the most influential genres ever created, will turn 50 years old. For five decades, the art form has shifted how communities dressed, designed, and expressed themselves globally. In honor of its golden anniversary, several of the industry’s notable figures gathered for the inaugural Hip-Hop Health: The 50-Year Check-Up series presented by Men’s Health, with Senior Editor Keith Nelson Jr. for a discussion on mental health and how they promote healthy lifestyles.
Rapper and Farmacy For Life owner Styles P, Grammy-nominated artist and co-owner of Broadway Boxing Gym D Smoke, and Nike running coach and co-founder of Fit For Us Percell Dugger connected at Soho Works DUMBO where the group pushed the importance of checking in on yourself and taking the necessary measures to heal from personal struggles and traumas.
While showing emotions and vulnerability is not something often encouraged in the hip-hop community, the guest speakers denounced the behavior encouraging others to share their stories as they shared techniques they’ve used to put themselves on a track to a healthier and more mindful lifestyle. Plans included various methods such as therapy, self-healing with guided meditation, exercise with an improved diet, and even sometimes crying.
“You should want to heal yourself first and find out things that are harming you,” Styles P explained. “Most of the time, it is what you’re putting in your gut. And what you are ingesting, what you are physically taking, as in your mental [health] and who you’re around. Your energy.”
For his role, rapper D Smoke believes he is responsible for providing spaces and resources for people to get on track to a healthy life. “Instead of saying, 'I got to do it.' I get to do it! I am fortunate to provide space,” the business owner said. “We can open the doors and let people go to a boxing gym. It is a transformative space. Providing space where people can be mentored is a privilege. It’s important," he added.
Meanwhile, Dugger shared why crying is good for your health.“The New York City Marathon is one time of the year if a New Yorker is yelling at you, it’s because they’re cheering you on,” he said as he chuckled. “As a coach, I get emotional. It’s a very cathartic feeling to see someone manifesting a version of themselves… I got choked up. I started crying,” he added before noting, “But it was a good cry.”