What could be the reason behind this drastic life change? Was it solely due to health reasons or vanity due to being a public figure? Busta Rhymes, real name Trevor Smith Jr, shared with Men’s Health Hanif Abdurraqib, it was the former.

At just 48, Rhymes has done the imaginable. During a time of social unrest and political divide, he sought to get serious about his health. While many have struggled with keeping any new year’s resolutions during this pandemic, Rhymes found a renewed sense of motivation: Being physically fit to protect his family should the need ever arise.

“I ain’t just getting in shape to look good with my music. We are in the eye of the storm of some real shit happening. And I was raised to protect and provide for my family and my people. I don’t know how to be any other way. I have to contribute in any way I can, even if that means engaging in physicality to ensure survival. There’s no one part of survival that you leave out when you are talking about your family and the people you love and have to walk among if shit hits the fan.” – Busta Rhymes to Men’s Health

Busta Rhymes Weight Battle

It all started back in 2009 when Rhymes was working on his latest album, Extension Level Event 2: The Wrath of God, which would eventually take him eleven years to complete.

While working in the studio, Rhymes shares with Men’s Health he was at an all-time low.

“Believe it or not, I made the album when I was at my most unhealthy. I was so focused on the music being the best that it could be, I didn’t put any time into taking care of myself.”

Apart from his poor physical health, Rhymes dealt with two alternating life blows. In 2012, he lost his long-term friend and manager, Chris Lightly. Then in 2014, his father.

 “Those were the two most important male figures in my entire life. Early on, Chris Lighty was telling me that this was the best album that I ever made. He never came to my studio sessions in 22 years. And during the making of this album, he started to come. I was waiting for him to tell me that I was making something special, and then he tells me, but he dies before I could put the album out? And then my father dies before I could put the album out? I felt cheated. The two people I wanted to see me win were no longer here to see it.”

Hitting A Breaking Point

Life seemed to be spiraling out of hand for the rapper. But the breaking point didn’t come until 2019.

One night, Rhymes had fallen asleep in the back of a car after a night of partying. It took his son and team twenty minutes to wake him up. The next day, a doctor confirmed polyps’ existence in the throat, restricting Rhyme’s breathing by 90 percent. His doctor urged him to have emergency surgery.

“That’s when I knew shit was serious,” he tells me. “The doctor told me that if I caught a cold or slept wrong that I could die. . . . It felt like this was on me now, and I had to steer things in a different direction. I was too young to be on all of these blood-pressure medications and acid-reflux medications.”

Getting Fit In A Pandemic

That was the wake-up call Rhymes needed to get into shape.

Rhymes connected with trainer, Dexter Johnson, and got to work. The only condition, Rhymes had to move to Jacksonville for 30 days to train with him. He accepted.

Today, Rhymes is doing better than ever. He is sleeping better and eating right. Rhymes’ journey took twelve months of determination and mental strength that led the rapper to shedding a hundred pounds in just one year.

To up his metabolism, in the beginning, Rhymes would eat every two hours and train at least two times a day. Currently, Rhymes has kept the momentum going and still works out five days a week with a trainer while residing in New York.

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What We Can Learn From Busta

Not everyone has to be at a low place to find the motivation to make positive changes in their lives. Some like Busta, would need moments of clarity to get in gear. For others, it may just mean writing your goals down and making daily small changes, to accomplish them.

Wherever you may be in your journey of personal growth. Filling your life with inspirational stories, like Rhymes is essential. It enables you to reach for the unimaginable.

Just don’t believe the hype that only those better off are able to attain lofty goals. Because at the end of the day, even celebrities are just ordinary people with abnormal jobs.