NLE Choppa Talks Veganism, Meditation, and Detoxing With Jermaine Dupri
You may think that a rising rapper and a Grammy-award-winning music producer are two of the most unlikely people to be using their enormous platforms to talk about the benefits of a plant-based diet. In actuality, upcoming rapper NLE Choppa, 18, who made the switch to veganism this past August, and The Beet's Creative Advisor and 15-year vegan veteran, Jermaine Dupri, are two of the more prolific people in the music industry who are promoting the benefits of plant-based to their followers.
In an exclusive video interview on The Beet, Dupri catches up with NLE Choppa and talks about healthy food, meditation, energy, and how he's inspiring the younger generation of fans to eat more plant-based and think about their health and wellbeing, as well as setting an example for friends and family.
Choppa's debut studio album Top Shotta climbed to number 10 on the US Billboard 200 with hit singles "Camelot" and "Walk Em Down." He released From Dark to Light on November 1st of this year, his 18th birthday.
Watch the full interview below.
Jermaine: I was really interested when I saw you talking about veganism. What actually made you want to go vegan?
NLE Choppa: I meditate a lot, and when I was in the beginning stages of mediation, I peeped how my body would react when I would put certain things in it. So let's say I meditate for 30 minutes and come out of the meditation with energy. Now I go eat some chicken or a burger or some shit and I get back to being tired, or my mindset gets back to the state of mind I was in before I meditated.
So as I started to peep my body, realize how my body was reacting to certain foods, I told myself that I had to go cold turkey–I just cut out meat completely. I found the nearest vegan place in Atlanta and after that, I've been vegan ever since.
JD: So what was the biggest challenge– what was the hardest thing for you to give up?
NLE: My favorite food I had to give up– I love chicken, cheeseburgers, ribs, but it wasn't too hard because anything that's good for me that's going to benefit my mental health, my body, my soul, I'm all for it.
JD: What's your go-to vegan dish at this point?
NLE: I really like quesadillas. A lot of people don't like how meat tastes, they just like how it's seasoned and cooked. They don't like it for the meat. You can season some jackfruit the same way you would season the meat and it tastes damn near similar. So I love little jackfruit quesadillas or mushroom quesadillas.
JD: So do they got vegan spots in Memphis?
NLE: I'm not gonna lie, there's like two. It's not like LA. I just get a chef in my house to cook, shoutout to Brandon, and shoutout to Miss Tam, they're always whipping something up for me. I'm trying to put something out there myself.
JD: So how long have you been vegan?
NLE: I've been vegan since August, so that's like eight months I believe.
JD: So anybody that's following you or that's listening to this, that's thinking about this, what's your advice for them?
NLE: Just know that everything is energy. What I like to use as an example, a lot of people learned in science that energy is never destroyed, it's just transferred. When you're eating beef coming from cows or chickens, before those chickens and cows became what you are eating they were in a state of fear, in a state of not wanting to die.
Once you kill those animals, and you cook them, they're still in that state they were in before they died. They have those fears, those anxieties. You are what you eat. It's better to have a plant-based diet because you're not putting harm into what you're eating, it's coming from the earth, it's organic.
JD: You said you went cold turkey, so if someone can't take that cold turkey step, what would you tell them they can do to inch their way into it? Like with your homeboys, what are the ways they've gotten into it without going completely cold turkey?
NLE: First off you could start with detoxing your body–get a little tea to detox your body. Have your bowel movement moving right to move certain things out of your body. I ain't gonna lie–the only way I can say is cold turkey because when people try to ease their way in and still do this, still do that, they never get off the meats.
I don't know if it's scientifically proven but I damn near think your taste buds have a type of brain to them. You gotta re-function your damn tastebuds because your tastebuds will be so used to eating [animal products]. I say cold turkey, man.
JD: I started with a detox basically. I fasted for 25 days to clean my body out based on what you said. I ain't eat no food. I went from having no food to the first thing I tasted was vegan food and you know my body was basically set in that mode. It still took a little bit more time but that's basically how I did it as well.
Alright, well I thank you. I wanted to talk to you because it's hard finding younger people, especially younger Black people that really understand veganism. They've tried it–out here in Atlanta there are a lot more Black vegan restaurants than damn near anywhere in the country. Happy to see more people doing it but it's still something we gotta get out to the rest of the world and make them understand.
Especially on the Black, the diabetes, the health side. We're still a generation of people who don't understand how serious that is and how bad the food hurts our health. Like I said I'm happy to see you're young and doing it.
Let's keep spreading that word.
NLE: Dope, Appreciate you for having me.
Watch the full interview here.