Radio personality, Big Boy (@RadioBigBoy) has been a prominent figure in West Coast hip-hop for years. Known for his big personality, humor and DJ skills he is considered to be one of the most genuine people in the business. With his biography An XL Life scheduled to drop Dec 27th, Big Boy sat down with theGrio to speak about his upbringing in Los Angeles, his dramatic weight loss, and why it’s important for black men to care of themselves.
theGrio: Can you tell us about your family background? After reading your book, needless to say you’ve experienced from a lot.
It was seven of us kids growing up, man. Single parent…Mom did 100 percent the best she could do. We weren’t affluent financially but we were billionaires when it came to love. I didn’t have uncles, aunts or cousins or people like that you could rely on growing up. When things got bad, whoever was in that living room at the time was all we had. We dealt with the not having a place to live and sleeping outside, but situations like that brought us together.
With your earlier eating habits you mention that your mom wasn’t necessarily holding you back to eat, but she made sure your very well loved.
There was no one in my family, that could ever say ‘Mom loved you more’. I made sure my kids know that equal love will always be given from their Daddy. Each and every person in my family felt like mom loved us 100 percent. My wife and I raise our kids according to that blueprint.
Growing up in the time where hip-hop was in its genesis. I can only imagine how dope that was growing up on the West Coast scene.
There were so many things that were new to us, man. Of course you have you know, the early Rapper Delights and what not, but once we got the hometown stuff that’s when it really took off.
Everything was new, there was nothing to compare it to! When you heard the sirens in the beginning of the track it was Public Enemy. LL Cool J was hitting his strides. But then came out NWA, cats were cursing vinyl just to curse. Talking about “F—k tha Police” and the dope man, we were just in awe because this is what we talked about in everyday life.
It was too raw for words that I had to bathe in it.
Do you feel that hip-hop has lost some of its authenticity?
There was a time where hip-hop was ours. And I don’t mean to say just blacks and Latinos, it was for whoever was in the know. The counter culture is gone. Now you can turn on the TV and hear rapping about cookie dough or whatever product is in a commercial! You can turn on Nickelodeon and Disney and see someone there flowing. Hip-hop back then was very specific.
Do you feel with this current generation of rappers need to look back and see just how far the culture has come from?
I wish they would. They should know what had people had to deal with before and why they are benefiting from it today.
Do you feel that within the cultures of black and brown people that we are not really setting ourselves up for long lives with our eating habits?
What we had and what we grew up on, I wouldn’t even give it to my kids. For one, we are really big on taste…quantity and abundance. Sometimes we didn’t have anything green on our plates. By our living situation, I used to be amazed what my mom could come up with for us to eat. She could make a meal out of some beans and tennis, you know what I’m saying?
Clearly it wasn’t the healthiest
Nah of course not. But now we have to be more cautious of what we put in our bodies. They’re warning labels on everything that we eat that there’s not really an excuse.
Are they are not enough healthy eating options in the hood? In Harlem there’s an abundance of bodegas and corner stores but not enough fresh food options.
If it was there, we would eat it. Being that it’s not, it’s a hard question to ask. Recently I was on my fish and salad tip, and I was shooting a news segment in an area of Los Angeles where I had to literally drive 15 mins out of the way to find something fresh, so yeah our options are limited. Certain areas, food is about shell life and what you can sell.
In your book, you mention your friendship you mention with the late big Pun. With the recent health issues of E Sermon, Rick Ross and the late Heavy D, what was the one moment in your life that was the turning point for you to commit to a healthy lifestyle?
I saw people bigger than me and smaller than me drop dead. Before I got the procedure, the duodenal switch, I was at top of the world. I was a successful black man. I could afford to buy clothes that fit me; I could afford to fly a private jet to accommodate my size. I was enabling myself. I was so happy in the skin I was in. The turning point for me was the math, did I have more years in front of me than I had behind me? That’s a hard question to ask. They’re no 66-year-old 500 lb. men walking around. It just doesn’t happen.
If there was one lesson that a reader could grab from your book, what would that be?
I didn’t get on the surgery table looking for happiness. I went in a happy guy, and got off a happier guy. Whatever people do that makes them stronger than that’s what you need to focus on. We need to boost our self-esteem to make you solid. If you know you’re not happy because you keep smoking, then you know what you have to do. We just need to make the effort. My book isn’t about weight loss; it’s about smiling and positively progressing in what you need to do.
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