Busta Rhymes quite candidly shared that sex-induced breathing trouble and a panic attack led him to shed 100 pounds.
In honor of the 50th anniversary of hip-hop, the rap legend appeared on the cover of Men’s Health alongside fellow genre heavyweights Method Man, 50 Cent, Ludacris, Common and Wiz Khalifa.
Previously at 340 pounds and with “an array of medical ailments,” there were several moments and milestones that caused Busta to confront his size: He fell into a coma-like stupor one night, his son called out his health, his father passed away in 2014, a polyp that caused a 90% blockage in his throat, his drinking and smoking.
And with all of that, a post-coital struggle to breathe and panic attack shook Busta so much that he knew he had to take his health seriously — and slim down his physique.
Detailing what happened after having sex with his ex one day, Busta said, “I was having a really difficult time breathing. So I got up, and I walked out of the bedroom so she wouldn’t panic seeing me trying to keep myself calm.”
“I was trying to inhale, and it felt like it wasn’t working. I felt like I was having like an asthma attack — but I don’t have asthma. So I walked out of the bedroom and went into the living room, and I was forcing myself to inhale, to relax,” the 51-year-old veteran rapper continued.
The rapper recalled that the incident had a major impact on him even as it happened. He said, “That was scaring me so much that it was a mindfuck, because I had to stay calm and make sure she didn’t hear me panic or hear me struggle to breathe. I’m butt-ass naked in the living room, trying to calm myself down.”
Busta noted that although his ex didn’t witness his frightening loss of breath, she brought up that the rapper’s physicality had turned on him.
“She was like, ‘Yo, this is not who I fell in love with.’ She didn’t know what had happened outside, but she was looking at my body and the weight. She was like, ‘You gotta lose this weight. This breathing is scaring me. When I met you, you wasn’t like a musclehead, but you, you was slim, you was cut, you had your shit right. I need you to get back to who I fell in love with.'”
Now, Busta works out two times a day, including “weights, circuits, sauna and cryotherapy.”
The hip-hop icon is headed back on tour with 50 Cent and is dedicated not to looking like the “weak link” compared to his 48-year-old peer.
Regarding other aspects of his health, the “Break Ya Neck” MC prioritizes “self-preservation” by giving his mind, body and spirit the basics needed to function optimally.
Busta highlighted a healthy diet, proper sleep and lots of water as things that have helped him along his wellness journey.
Forty percent of Black men are considered overweight; 37.5% are obese.
A medically reviewed 2022 piece published on Verywell Health noted that Black men statistically live seven years less than men of other races. The vulnerable population, as it pertains to health, also has higher death rates than Black women for all leading causes of death.
Obesity is a risk factor for diabetes, heart disease and stroke. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health states, “People who are overweight are more likely to suffer from high blood pressure, high levels of blood fats, diabetes and LDL cholesterol.” As MADAMENOIRE has previously unpacked, many of the health disparities Black people in America face are caused by racism and socioeconomic disadvantages.
Read more on the “Hip-Hop is 50” Men’s Health cover below.
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