like, “You ain’t never had nothing to drink? You behind. Lets do this!” Next thing I know, I’m like, “I ain’t scared of that shit.” So I’d take the whole fifth and I remember feeling like, this is great, I feel separated from my everyday shit. If there’s a girl I wanted to talk to, I’m more confident because I’m buzzed. That whole lifestyle, I ain’t no different from millions who have been through that. Intoxication became an everyday thing for me. It was an escape from a lot of shit. I felt bad because I told myself I wasn’t going to become that shit. I was drinking everyday, started smoking urb and all that shit, for years. I was about 17 and did that until I was 22. When did you realize that you might have a drinking problem? We’d go to a house party and I’d be passed out in somebody’s bathroom because I’d try to out-drink everybody. You drink one, I’m drinking 10. Nigga, what! Then I’d go to the bathroom and niggas would come get me like, “Nigga, you was butt ass naked on the floor!” I was out of my mind. But it wasn’t like niggas was trying to preach to me because we was all getting fucked up. But at the same time, they’d be like, “Damn, nigga, I had to drag your ass out.” They said I’d be trying to fight bouncers. I was fucked up and out of my mind. People would be like, ‘Oh, this nigga? Don’t let him get no drink.” I was too young to think that I was an alcoholic. Everybody I knew got fucked up. I wasn’t like my older uncles yet. I didn’t think that I was going to be. I just thought I was young and thuggin’. Eventually, me and my partners decided we needed to do some shit in terms of our music. All of us saved up some hustle money and moved to New York to try and get a record deal. We were in New York homeless, but things ended up working out. We met Lord Jamar from Brand Nubian and worked on a demo and ended up getting a deal. I got a little bit of paper. Before that I was always broke, living check to check, hustle to hustle, half-ounce to half-ounce. But I got a little paper so I was able to get a crib and man, I went so hard. From the time I woke up in the morning, I was drinking Andre to the time I went to bed, still in my clothes. I’d keep the bottles in my window. Niggas knew me for that. It was fun. People would tell me I was a funny nigga when I’m fucked up, but when I’m sober, I was just like my pops, real serious. My oldest brother on crack, my mom got diabetes, my dad had two heart attacks, I got shit on my mind, I’m trying to get free, all kinds of shit. Money was always on my mind. One day in my apartment, after a night of drinking and smoking and eating spaghetti at 4 in the morning, I walked from downtown Brooklyn to my crib in Ft. Greene. I don’t know how I got across the streets, but I got to the crib and went to sleep. That morning about 9 AM, I had to use the bathroom. I was laying there like I ain’t want to get up, felt like I was gonna throw up. I got out the bed and as soon as my foot touched the floor I felt like I had got shot in my ankle. I fell down, almost on my face and I was like “YO!” I looked at my leg and my ankle was red and real swollen. I was like “Shit, I got bit by a spider.” I ain’t know what the fuck was wrong with my foot. I couldn’t even stand up on it. It was super painful. I hated going to the doctor, but I didn’t know what else I could do. I had been eating bullshit like hamburgers. My diet was whatever is cheap. 99 cent Whopper? Give me two of them. When I went to the doctor, he asked if I was into drugs. I told him not really, just a little urb and drinking. He asked me what foods I eat, I said hot dogs and hamburgers. He said, “I hate to tell you this, but you’ve got gout.” Did you know what gout was? Nope. I had heard of it like, old people have gout, but I ain’t know what it really was. I just thought it
was something that all the black people you know have when they’re old. I didn’t know specifically. When the doctor broke it down to me, I was like, “What? Ain’t that some old people shit?” And he was like, “Yeah, but you got it.” He said my lifestyle was unhealthy. For the readers who may not know, gout is an oversaturation in your body of uric acid. Uric acid comes from alcohol waste and meat like hot dogs, hamburgers, any kind of meat, the waste, and not drinking enough water and not exercising enough. Your body is trying to get rid of these toxins. Your liver is oversaturated, so your body starts sending that shit to your blood and joints so it can collect in your bones. That’s what happened to me. My body was like, this shit is toxic so I’ll just stick it in your joints to the point where my leg swoll up and I couldn’t use my leg. I was 21-22 years old. That shit transformed my life, man. But I’ma tell you how the Dr. Killer system works. The doctor didn’t tell me to stop eating hot dogs, he just gave me some pills to allow me to keep doing what I was doing.
to say “look nigga, you saw what happened to me,” I just thought that was my role. It’s a blessing that we was doing music at the time and I was able to express that in certain songs like “Fucked Up,” “Way of Life” and “Be Healthy.” Niggas be thinking you just some nigga trying to preach because you’re “positive.” But everything we say is from real experiences.
He didn’t advise you to stop drinking either? Nope. Basically he said, “I’ma be your pushaman, nigga, I got what you need.” He didn’t try to heal me or encourage me. But it reminded me of something I read from Malcom X, when he said the poor are unhealthy. I remembered that at the time because I was living it. Being the young nigga I was, I snapped back. I told him I wasn’t gonna be taking these drugs. My wifey was a vegetarian. I played with that a little bit, but I didn’t have any reason to do it. When this happened she got really involved in my healing process. She started helping me study and giving me shit to read. I ain’t take none of those pills [from the doctor]. We went to Brooklyn on Nostrand Ave. and got with the Rastas and herbologists. They told to me drink water, cherry juice, eat vegetables, and get the meat out of my system. I got a whole education from that community on how to heal myself.
Can you share some of the stuff you were taking to get better and stay healthy? If you’re drinking, there is an herb called milk thistle, you can get it at most organic places. It’s just an herb that tastes like Peppermint Tea. You start drinking that and it helps clean your liver of alcohol and stuff. More importantly, we as a community have to care about ourselves enough to not be addicted to anything. Addiction is a symptom of oppression. It holds us back, robs our pockets, robs our ambitions to get shit accomplished and makes us vulnerable, weak and sick. We are supposed to be warriors. We’re supposed to be bosses and on top of our business and developing ourselves to the fullest. If that’s a goal that you have, drinking, eating unhealthy, not exercising, smoking everyday with no breaks and all that shit is gonna be counterproductive. This ain’t the first time anyone’s heard this shit, but its gotta touch you and your life. Something has to happen so that you can see your own worth and value. I say study the martial arts, that’s a great way to harmonize the mind, body and spirit.
When the doctor told you had gout, did he tell you a timetable on healing from it? He didn’t tell me it could be healed. He said the pills would make the swelling go down. I learned from the elders and Rastas that nature has created everything we need to heal ourselves. Even the pills you take got some kind of natural herb in it, plus the chemicals and sugars they add to it. I basically just got into respecting my culture and the African ways of the bush and knowing the herbs and shit. I became a vegan. I don’t eat no meats, no eggs, no candy, no sodas. Just fresh vegetables, fresh fruit, fresh juices. I went cold turkey. I also wanted my leg back, so I started training in martial arts. You have to remove yourself from certain elements to kick habits. Was it difficult for you, especially being in the rap lifestyle? Yeah, I just had to get my own natural confidence back. Because the very next day I’m with 13 niggas who are like, “Lets get fucked up, nigga!” We going to the clubs and kicking it, and I’ll be the nigga that’s like, “I’m not drinking.” I’d have a book in my back pocket and we’d be at the club, we kicking it, smoking and shit. I’m drinking water with some lemon in it and I’m pulling a book out on techniques and pressure points to the body or some shit. I became that dude, and it made me feel isolated in a way. I just ain’t want to be sick though. I started realizing that this is poison, not to be cliché, but this is a poison that has robbed our community of strong, healthy people and it contributes to arguments and sickness and diseases and all types of shit that goes on in our households, families and ‘hoods. So even though I felt the peer pressure, I held my ground. Not only am I doing this for me, but I’m trying to be an example for the next nigga in my crew, so they don’t go overboard and get fucked up with gout. I wasn’t trying to preach to nobody but I was trying
Did your behavior rub off anyone else in your crew? A little bit. Some of my homeboys were supportive. My nigga M-1 used to be the one to carry me on his back out of the club. But it affects everybody different, because niggas was drinking and smoking more than me, but they didn’t catch Gout. So I look at it like a spiritual thing. That was my lesson; that was for me. If I didn’t have gout, I would not have seven years of martial arts in my life, I wouldn’t be a vegetarian, and I wouldn’t have been able to do those songs in order to motivate somebody else. That was a blessing, I don’t take struggle as “woe is me” and self-pity.
How are your pops and older brother right now? Well, my older brother is doing a bid right now in prison. Hopefully he’ll be home in the next 4 months. He’ll be starting back from scratch and we’ll take it one day at a time. My pops is doing excellent. He ain’t been on no drugs in years. He got a little belly, got his weight up. He is retired, a two-time heart attack survivor and he is just taking it easy. I tell him to lay off those cigarettes and certain things, but he is gonna do what he wanna do. Our relationship is much, much stronger. He comes up and visits me, we go to the games and shit, we just try to stay in touch and support each other. It’s gonna get greater later. Since you have a son yourself, are you being extra cautious to make sure he doesn’t follow in you and your father’s early footsteps? My son has been training in martial arts since he was two years old. He’s been a vegan since he was born and his mom is vegan. I’m definitely gonna keep it all the way 100 with him about my life, but I’ma let him do him. We don’t allow him to eat candy, but if he says “I want a piece of candy,” we’ll let him eat it because, watch how your ass feel, you get that sugar rush and then you gonna crash. And we tell him, “See, that’s that candy.” We ain’t gonna let him overdo it, and he don’t. If you ask my son if he wants some M&M’s, he’ll be like, “I don’t eat candy.” Try and give him some soda, he’ll tell you, “I don’t drink soda,” on his own discipline. We don’t have to snatch it out of his hand. He orders salad when we go to restaurants. I’m so thankful he never had those addictions that we gotta keep him away from. I know when he grows up, he gonna do what he gonna do, but at least he’ll have that healthy foundation. //
OZONE MAG // 83
Ozone Mag #65 - Mar 2008