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Category Archives: Real Talk

Hip Hop Caucus’ #ActonClimate Tour Stops at Clark Atlanta University

HipHopcaucusClimateOn April 24th, the Hip Hop Caucus’ Act On Climate (#ActOnClimate) Tour, made its final stop of its spring tour at Clark Atlanta University.  Hip Hop Caucus partnered with local and national partners that embarked on a six-state tour to conduct informational seminars to show elected officials in D.C. the emphasis needed on climate solutions.  

Contributing their time, passion and knowledge on the tour was Love Life Foundation Founder, Raheem Devaughn, artist, comedian and culture critic Amanda Seales, and RCA recording artist/activist Dee-1.  Along with these artists, the tour featured speakers from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Civil rights leader Dr. Gerald Durley and Green For All’s Nikki Silvestri.  All hosted and moderated by President and CEO of Hip Hop Caucus, Rev Yearwood.  The tour made stops at Hampton, Central State, Wayne State, Howard, North Carolina A&T and Clark Atlanta Universities.









After attending the tour’s stop at Clark and being educated of the battle affecting our the environment, its vital that the students and Hip Hop community use our voice to be the catalyst for environmental law reform in regards to our water and air practices as well as the research and development being conducted for green energy in the present and what is currently planned for the future.  For more information about the tour, visit

Hip-Hop Health- Guru (Myeloma)

Rapper Guru, born Keith Elam, died at the age of 47 after a year long (2010) battle with multiple myeloma cancer.  Guru, a member of the duo Gang Starr, was a seminal figure in the hip-hop and rap scene of the late 80’s and early 90’s.  Guru chose to keep his illness private, although he has been in and out of hospitals in the last year with various complications from his disease.


Multiple myeloma is a cancer of your plasma cells, a type of white blood cell present in your bone marrow. Plasma cells normally make proteins called antibodies to help you fight infections.


Signs and symptoms of multiple myeloma can vary from person to person. Early in the disease, the condition may not cause any symptoms (smoldering multiple myeloma). As the disease progresses, it’s likely that you’ll experience at least one of the four major problems common to multiple myeloma, which include:

  • A high level of calcium in your blood. This can occur when calcium from affected bones appears in your blood. High calcium levels cause excessive thirst, nausea, constipation, loss of appetite and confusion.
  • Kidney (renal) failure. High levels of certain types of abnormal monoclonal proteins (M proteins), which are called light chains or Bence Jones proteins, damage the kidneys.
  • Anemia-related fatigue. This fatigue occurs as myeloma cells replace oxygen-carrying red blood cells in your bone marrow.
  • Bone damage and fractures. The type of bone damage in multiple myeloma is referred to as “osteolytic” or “lytic,” and appears as “punched out” spots on X-rays. Bone pain is a common symptom, particularly in your back, pelvis, ribs and skull.


Although the exact cause isn’t known, doctors do know that multiple myeloma begins with one abnormal plasma cell in your bone marrow — the soft, blood-producing tissue that fills in the center of most of your bones. This abnormal cell then starts to multiply.

Because abnormal cancerous cells don’t mature and then die as normal cells do, they accumulate, eventually overwhelming the production of healthy cells. In healthy bone marrow, less than 5 percent of the cells are plasma cells. But in people with multiple myeloma, more than 10 percent of the cells may be plasma cells.

Because myeloma cells may circulate in low numbers in your blood, they can populate bone marrow in other parts of your body, even far from where they began. That’s why the disease is called multiple myeloma. Uncontrolled plasma cell growth can damage bones and surrounding tissue. It can also interfere with your immune system’s ability to fight infections by inhibiting your body’s production of normal antibodies.

Hip-Hop Health- Brandon Marshall (Borderline Personality Disorder)

Back in 2011, Dolphins WR Brandon Marshall opened up to the media in an emotional press conference, revealing that he has been diagnosed and treated for borderline personality disorder.


Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a mental health disorder that generates significant emotional instability. This can lead to a variety of other stressful mental and behavioral problems.

With borderline personality disorder, you may have a severely distorted self-image and feel worthless and fundamentally flawed. Anger, impulsiveness and frequent mood swings may push others away, even though you may desire to have loving and lasting relationships.

Borderline personality disorder affects how you feel about yourself, how you relate to others and how you behave.

Signs and symptoms of borderline personality disorder may include:

  • Impulsive and risky behavior, such as risky driving, unsafe sex, gambling sprees or illegal drug use
  • Awareness of destructive behavior, including self-injury, but sometimes feeling unable to change it
  • Wide mood swings
  • Short but intense episodes of anxiety or depression
  • Inappropriate anger and antagonistic behavior, sometimes escalating into physical fights
  • Difficulty controlling emotions or impulses
  • Suicidal behavior
  • Feeling misunderstood, neglected, alone, empty or hopeless
  • Fear of being alone
  • Feelings of self-hate and self-loathing


As with other mental disorders, the causes of borderline personality disorder aren’t fully understood. Experts agree, though, that the disorder results from a combination of factors. Factors that seem likely to play a role include:

  • Genetics. Some studies of twins and families suggest that personality disorders may be inherited or strongly associated with other mental disorders among family members.
  • Environmental factors. Many people with borderline personality disorder have a history of childhood abuse, neglect and separation from caregivers or loved ones.
  • Brain abnormalities. Some research has shown changes in certain areas of the brain involved in emotion regulation, impulsivity and aggression. In addition, certain brain chemicals that help regulate mood, such as serotonin, may not function properly.

Hip-Hop Health-Joe Buddens (Depression)

Back in 2012 Joe Buddens sat down with Hard Knock TV to discuss his battle with Depression. Video Below!

To find out if you may be depressed click on the link to take the depression test.


Common signs and symptoms of depression

  • Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. A bleak outlook—nothing will ever get better and there’s nothing you can do to improve your situation.
  • Loss of interest in daily activities. No interest in former hobbies, pastimes, social activities, or sex. You’ve lost your ability to feel joy and pleasure.
  • Appetite or weight changes. Significant weight loss or weight gain—a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month.
  • Sleep changes. Either insomnia, especially waking in the early hours of the morning, or oversleeping (also known as hypersomnia).
  • Anger or irritability. Feeling agitated, restless, or even violent. Your tolerance level is low, your temper short, and everything and everyone gets on your nerves.
  • Loss of energy. Feeling fatigued, sluggish, and physically drained. Your whole body may feel heavy, and even small tasks are exhausting or take longer to complete.
  • Self-loathing. Strong feelings of worthlessness or guilt. You harshly criticize yourself for perceived faults and mistakes.
  • Reckless behavior. You engage in escapist behavior such as substance abuse, compulsive gambling, reckless driving, or dangerous sports.
  • Concentration problems. Trouble focusing, making decisions, or remembering things.
  • Unexplained aches and pains. An increase in physical complaints such as headaches, back pain, aching muscles, and stomach pain.



HYPE & Tupac Amaru Center for the Arts presents the “Get HYPE Holiday Showcase”












This Saturday, December 21st the H.Y.P.E. ( and the Tupac Amaru Center present the Get HYPE Holiday showcase.  The showcase features spoken word artists, rap cyphers, monologues and more! The showcase will be raising funds for the Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation.

Saturday 6PM – 6PM

5616 Memorial Drive Stone Mountain, GA 30083

Hip-Hop Health- YMCMB Freddy E (Suicide)

A tragedy struck the hip-hop world when young Seattle rapper Freddy E took his own life. 

King County medical examiner’s office confirms to E! News that on Jan. 5, the 22-year-old rapper, born Frederick E.  Buhl, died of a self-inflicted rifle wound to the head.

What was even more startling was the fact that Freddy E chose to live-tweet the moments leading up to his suicide. (E! News) 

What is suicide?

Suicide is the process of purposely ending one’s own life. The way societies view suicide varies widely according to culture and religion. For example, many Western cultures, as well as mainstream Judaism, Islam, and Christianity tend to view killing oneself as quite negative. One myth about suicide that may be the result of this view is considering suicide to always be the result of a mental illness. Some societies also treat a suicide attempt as if it were a crime. However, suicides are sometimes seen as understandable or even honorable in certain circumstances, such as in protest to persecution (for example, hunger strike), as part of battle or resistance (for example, suicide pilots of World War II; suicide bombers) or as a way of preserving the honor of a dishonored person (for example, killing oneself to preserve the honor or safety of family members).

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, PLEASE call 1-800-273-TALK

Hip-Hop Health- T-Boz (Sickle Cell)

Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins was born in Des Moines, Iowa. She is of African American and Native American descent. As a child, Watkins was diagnosed with sickle-cell anemia; her parents both have the homozygous recessive trait which one in 12 people of African descent have. Since the age of seven, Watkins has been in and out of hospitals due to her condition. Watkins’ family moved from Des Moines to Atlanta, Georgia, when she was nine years old. Because of her disease Watkins was not expected to have children and live past her 30s.

Sickle cell anemia is caused by an abnormal type of hemoglobin called hemoglobin S. Hemoglobin is a protein inside red blood cells that carries oxygen. Hemoglobin S changes the shape of red blood cells, especially when the cells are exposed to low oxygen levels. The red blood cells become shaped like crescents or sickles.

The fragile, sickle-shaped cells deliver less oxygen to the body’s tissues. They can also get stuck more easily in small blood vessels, and break into pieces that interupt healthy blood flow.

Sickle cell anemia is inherited from both parents. If you inherit the hemoglobin S gene from one parent and normal hemoglobin (A) from your other parent, you will have sickle cell trait. People with sickle cell trait do not have the symptoms of sickle cell anemia.

Sickle cell disease is much more common in people of African and Mediterranean descent. It is also seen in people from South and Central America, the Caribbean, and the Middle East.

Symptoms usually don’t occur until after age 4 months.

Almost all patients with sickle cell anemia have painful episodes (called crises), which can last from hours to days. These crises can affect the bones of the back, the long bones, and the chest.

Some patients have one episode every few years. Others have many episodes per year. The crises can be severe enough to require a hospital stay.

Common symptoms include:

  • Attacks of abdominal pain
  • Bone pain
  • Breathlessness
  • Delayed growth and puberty
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Paleness
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Ulcers on the lower legs (in adolescents and adults)
  • Yellowing of the eyes and skin (jaundice)

Tests commonly performed to diagnose and monitor patients with sickle cell anemia include:

  • Complete blood count (CBC)
  • Hemoglobin electrophoresis
  • Sickle cell testThe goal of treatment is to manage and control symptoms, and to limit the number of crises.Patients with sickle cell disease need ongoing treatment, even when they are not having a painful crisis.Folic acid supplements should be taken. Folic acid is needed to make red blood cells.Treatment for a sickle cell crisis includes:
    • Blood transfusions (may also be given regularly to prevent stroke)
    • Pain medicines
    • Plenty of fluids

    Other treatments for sickle cell anemia may include:

    • Hydroxyurea (Hydrea), a medicine that may help reduce the number of pain episodes (including chest pain and difficulty breathing) in some people
    • Antibiotics to prevent bacterial infections, which are common in children with sickle cell disease

    Treatments for complications of sickle cell anemia may include:

    • Kidney dialysis or kidney transplant for kidney disease
    • Drug rehabilitation and counseling for psychological complications
    • Gallbladder removal in those with gallstone disease
    • Hip replacement for avascular necrosis of the hip
    • Treatments, including surgery, for persistent, painful erections (priapism)
    • Surgery for eye problems
    • Wound care, zinc oxide, or surgery for leg ulcers

    Bone marrow or stem cell transplants can cure sickle cell anemia. However, they are current not an option for most patients. Sickle cell anemia patients are often unable to find well-matched donors.


Hip-Hop Health- Big Pun (Heart Attack)

Big Pun struggled with his weight for most of his life; his weight fluctuated in the early 1990s between obese and morbidly obese. Big Pun partook in a weight-loss program in North Carolina, in which he lost 80 pounds, but he eventually quit the program before completing it, returning to New York and gaining back the weight he had lost. On February 7, 2000, Big Pun suffered a fatal heart attack and respiratory failure while temporarily staying with family at a Crowne Plaza Hotel in White Plains, New York during a home renovation. Pun was pronounced dead at the hospital after paramedics could not revive him. Big Pun was at his highest weight at the time of his death, being 698 pounds. He was cremated a few days later.


Hip Hop Awareness

Most heart attacks are caused by a blood clot that blocks one of the coronary arteries. The coronary arteries bring blood and oxygen to the heart. If the blood flow is blocked, the heart is starved of oxygen and heart cells die.

A hard substance called plaque can build up in the walls of your coronary arteries. This plaque is made up of cholesterol and other cells. A heart attack can occur as a result of plaque buildup.

  • The plaque can develop cracks or tears. Blood platelets stick to these tears and form a blood clot. A heart attack can occur if this blood clot completely blocks oxygen-rich blood from flowing to the heart. This is the most common cause of heart attacks.
  • The slow buildup of plaque may almost block one of your coronary arteries. A heart attack may occur if not enough oxygen-rich blood can flow through this blockage. This is more likely to happen when your body is stressed (for example, by a serious illness).
For More on Heart Attacks, Check out video below

The cause of heart attacks is not always known. Heart attacks may occur:

  • When you are resting or asleep
  • After a sudden increase in physical activity
  • When you are active outside in cold weather
  • After sudden, severe emotional or physical stress, including an illnessA heart attack is a medical emergency. If you have symptoms of a heart attack, call 911 or your local emergency number right away.
    • DO NOT try to drive yourself to the hospital.
    • DO NOT DELAY. You are at greatest risk of sudden death in the early hours of a heart attack.

    Chest pain is the most common symptom of a heart attack. You may feel the pain in only one part of your body, or it may move from your chest to your arms, shoulder, neck, teeth, jaw, belly area, or back.

    The pain can be severe or mild. It can feel like:

    • A tight band around the chest
    • Bad indigestion
    • Something heavy sitting on your chest
    • Squeezing or heavy pressure

    The pain usually lasts longer than 20 minutes. Rest and a medicine called nitroglycerin may not completely relieve the pain of a heart attack. Symptoms may also go away and come back.

    Other symptoms of a heart attack include:

    • Anxiety
    • Cough
    • Fainting
    • Light-headedness, dizziness
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Palpitations (feeling like your heart is beating too fast or irregularly)
    • Shortness of breath
    • Sweating, which may be very heavy

    Some people (the elderly, people with diabetes, and women) may have little or no chest pain. Or, they may have unusual symptoms (shortness of breath, fatigue, weakness). A “silent heart attack” is a heart attack with no symptoms.

    You will most likely first be treated in the emergency room.

    • You will be hooked up to a heart monitor, so the health care team can look at how your heart is beating.
    • The health care team will give you oxygen so that your heart doesn’t have to work as hard.
    • An intravenous line (IV) will be placed into one of your veins. Medicines and fluids pass through this IV.
    • You may get nitroglycerin and morphine to help reduce chest pain.

    Abnormal heartbeats (arrhythmias) are the leading cause of death in the first few hours of a heart attack. These arrythmias may be treated with medications or cardioversion.


    Angioplasty is a procedure to open narrowed or blocked blood vessels that supply blood to the heart. Usually a small, metal mesh tube called a stent is placed at the same time.

    • Angioplasty is often the first choice of treatment. It should be done within 90 minutes after you get to the hospital, and no later than 12 hours after a heart attack.
    • A stent is a small, metal mesh tube that opens up (expands) inside a coronary artery. A stent is often placed after angioplasty. It helps prevent the artery from closing up again.

    You may be given drugs to break up the clot. It is best if these drugs are given within 3 hours of when you first felt the chest pain. This is called thrombolytic therapy.

    Some patients may also have heart bypass surgery to open narrowed or blocked blood vessels that supply blood to the heart. This procedure is also called open heart surgery.

Hip-Hop Health- Simone Smith (LL’s Wife)- Stage III Chondrosarcoma

In 2004 Simone Smith  was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer, called Stage III Chondrosarcoma. After her lengthy fight and triumph, she not only fulfilled her dream of creating a jewelry line,Simone I. Smith, but she also fulfilled her philanthropic goals by teaming up with the American Cancer Society in order to donate a portion of the proceeds (10%) from select pieces to help with the fight against cancer.

“Her treatment required an invasive surgery that altered the appearance of her lollipop tattoo. “It literally looks like someone took a bite out of it,” says Simone. Inspired by her experience, the lollipop now represents Simone’s journey to getting well and staying well, and has sparked a desire to help other cancer survivors.”


What is chondrosarcoma?

Chondrosarcoma is a malignant cancer whose tumor cells produce a pure hyaline cartilage that results in abnormal bone and/or cartilage growth. People who have chondrosarcoma have a tumor growth, or abnormal bony type of bump, which can vary in size and location. The term chondrosarcoma is used to define a heterogeneous group of lesions with diverse morphologic features and clinical behavior. Primary chondrosarcoma (or conventional chondrosarcoma) usually develops centrally in a previously normal bone. Secondary chondrosarcoma is a chondrosarcoma arising from a benign precursor such as enchondromas or osteochondromas.


Symptoms will vary from person to person. The location and severity of the tumor will affect them. The most common symptoms of chondrosarcoma include:

  • Large lump or mass on a bone
  • Pressure surrounding the mass
  • Pain that worsens at night
  • Pain that responds to anti-inflammatory pain relievers
  • Pain that does not improve with rest
  • Pain that gradually worsens over time and may last for years

Hip-Hop Health- Kendall Ficklin-MenXchange(Sarcoidosis)


Kendall Ficklin, Founder of MenXchange and Author of Rise and Grind opens up about his battle with Sarcoidosis.