After Recent Deaths, Health is New Priority in Rap

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“I want to live a good long healthy life. So I’m health-conscious,” the 37-year-old rapper-actor said. “You never see me drink. If you did see me with a bottle, it had ginger ale in it.”

Though he’s still a heavy marijuana smoker, Snoop Dogg said he stopped drinking alcohol at clubs six years ago after suspecting that a woman put the sedative Rohypnol – widely known as a “date-rape drug” – in one of his drinks.

“I used to drink alcohol as a fashion statement. If you in the club, they bringing you bottles, bringing you drinks. And you’re just drinking because you’re drinking. I don’t do that anymore. I drink water or cranberry juice,” he said. “I’m not cheap. I just don’t want to do this to my body anymore. I want to survive.”

Snoop, 41, said his focus on health comes from his desire to remain competitive and relevant to a genre that’s largely focused on youth.

“Because when we perform, we don’t have as much energy,” he said. “So now we’ve got to get up and work out, do push-ups or jumping jacks, or whatever we’ve got to do to keep ourselves looking good and feeling good. Because one thing about an old man – he don’t ever want to feel like he old. So to me that’s my personal push is to be able to compete with the youngsters and to be able to dance with them so to speak. … Because when they welcome you into their world as far as being on a song, you’re not old. You’re accepted.”

For producer and rapper RZA, hip-hop’s emphasis on youth stems from an urban culture that since the ’80s has had trouble planning for the future.

“They said we should be dead or in jail by the age of 25. And I think we live like that,” the 43-year-old Wu-Tang Clan founder said. “But what happens when you make it past 25? What happens when you make it to 30? What happens when you make it to 40? Are you prepared for life now?”

Influenced by “Eastern philosophy” and his famous obsession with martial arts films, RZA said he’s been a vegetarian for 15 years and practices qigong movement and breathing.

“Think of the great artists like Biggie Smalls and Tupac, who made some of the greatest hip-hop music of all time. But they didn’t make it past 25,” he said. “They didn’t even become a man. ODB was just becoming a man. What I want to tell the hip-hop generation out there is that: There’s a chance you’re going to become a man. Be prepared for it.”

(Photo: From left, Producer J Dilla, Ol Dirty Bastard and Heavy D (AP))

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