The next time you hear a rapper talk about weight on the scale, it may be for a Jenny Craig commercial. Some of rap’s noteworthy MCs have begun reevaluating their lives and losing significant pounds as a result. Last year, Paul Wall made headlines when he dropped 100 pounds by using the gastric sleeve, and earlier this year, rapper Fat Joe wasn’t quite as fat anymore when he appeared in his “Drop A Body” music video after losing 88 pounds. Could thin be the new trend for men in a culture that historically has only placed body image standards on women?
Rapper Big Pooh, who recently lost 30 pounds, told CMJ that he doesn’t think thin is the new trend with rappers—rather they are simply becoming more health-conscious. He, along with his co-manager and Grammy award-winning producer Focus, have joined forces to participate in the Hood Biggest Loser challenge. Big Dho got the idea for the challenge after g-chatting with Focus about various health concerns. The challenge is seen as a motivational tool to encourage larger men in urban settings to join the discussion about healthier living options while offering them a monetary incentive to physically shed excess pounds.
To enter the challenge, participants would need to provide a current photo in gym clothes, measurements, weight (with a picture of the scale for all those who have delusions about their weight), an entry fee (yet to be announced) and a brief blog explaining why you want to enter the challenge.
Big Pooh acknowledges that all rappers have a “certain level of conceit.” He said, “Usually that conceit allows us to not pay attention to how others feel about us. But I think everyone is starting to become more health conscious.” He explained to CMJ that losing the weight was not solely for health reasons, however, it also had to do with his self-esteem. “The initial 30 pounds was all about how I felt I looked,” he said. “I felt terrible.” This is not the first time a rapper has admitted that his physical appearance took a toll on him mentally. Last year when Ozone Magazine interviewed Paul Wall, he admitted that “when you’re so big like that, it’s embarrassing,” saying that he felt “uncomfortable”.
Several rappers have built an image around being hefty; everyone from Rick Ross to the late Notorious B.I.G and the late Heavy D have capitalized on being an unlikely sex symbol. And while the goal may not be to get skinny—seriously, how silly would Ross look weighing a buck five?—perhaps some will simply become more conscious of their eating habits and attempt to be healthier. Will the future of hip-hop be full of yoga attending, vegan practicing MCs? Probably not, but we may see more hummus added to the “required” list in dressing rooms.