There’s an inspiring history of healthy eating in hip hop music that can be traced back to 1990. Some rapper's songs have been straight-forward PSAs about the world’s struggles with junk food and the value of eating fruits and veggies. Others have (possibly inadvertently) promoted healthy eating through misappropriated slang. You may have even toe-tapped along to a few of these beats without even realizing — the latest is British reggae artist Macka B's viral hit “Cucumba Song,” where he raps about, yep, cucumbers.
Check out that song, as well as four other foodie beats we love below.
While you listen, why not cook something nutritous? Check out our healthy cooking show Hemsley + Hemsley, where two foodie sisters create innovative, nutrient-dense recipes together. Learn more about the show and watch clips here, plus find out where you can tune in.
These Five Hip-Hop Songs Promote Healthy Eating Ideals:
by D.R.A.M. feat. Lil’ Yachty
The most recent crossing of the worlds of hip-hop and vegetables came with a smash 2016 hit from singer-songwriter-rapper D.R.A.M. entitled “Broccoli.” While the lyrics are definitely adult and about smoking weed, the artist recently told Noisey that fans have been reporting their kids are eating broccoli to the song.
All for the healthy side effects of the track, D.R.A.M. recently teamed with PETA for a PSA. In the clip, he seems to be trying to show his friends some weed. The narrative quickly reveals the "green" he's referring to is a batch of fresh produce from the farmer's market. The clip promotes eating greens, not just smoking of them. XXL Mag reports that D.R.A.M. joins the ranks of Waka Flocka Flame, RZA, and Russell Simmons who all recently also partnered with PETA to promote healthy eating.
Also on Z Living: Here’s 5 Reasons Why You Can’t Miss Our New Show ‘Hemsley + Hemsley’
“Cucumba” Song & More
by Macka B
The ever-charming British reggae artist Macka B went viral at the end of last month with “Cucumba Song,” a new installment of his healthy-foods rap series Medical Mondays. This track, like all of his others, goes through the various nutritional benefits of cucumbers with lyrics like, “Kidney cleanser, great hydrator. Detox, fiber, good regulator.” He also goes into how to make the most of cucumbers saying, “Raw in salad is one of the uses, as a base for your vegetable juices. As another surprise, put a slice on your eyes. Take away the dryness, revitalize.”
Check out the above video to see Macka B break down some knowledge on cucumbers, loose leaf tea, pumpkin seeds and okra.
Also on Z Living: Try An Exotic Twist On Fruit Salad From ‘Healthy Gourmet’
by Appetite For Change
Last summer, a Youth Employment and Training Program with Minneapolis-based nonprofit Appetite for Change created the above song and music video. As good as a lot of the hip-hop you might hear on the radio, the work was produced by amateur teens who wanted to teach listeners about urban farming and the importance of eating healthy. The anthemic-hook of the song states, “Grow Food. Grow Food.”
The video includes a narrative with a public-school lunch lady trying to serve the artists’ gross-looking pancakes and sausages. The cinematic story and lyrics criticize unhealthy foods in school, and online. These kids make valuable insights beautiful with lyrics like, “Screaming hot cheetos ‘n takis, boy you better eat your broccoli. Fake food is kind of lame, putting poison in your brain. Need more people in the club popping bottles of that water, dabbing on that fast food, pulling veggies out the garden. I go hard. I eat good, and I put that on my mama.”
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by Dead Prez
This highly celebrated hip-hop duo released this song in 2000 on the album Let’s Get Free. In a similar vein as the Appetite For Change kids, this album ties healthy eating in with social and personal concepts like happiness, psychology, and the government. A strong work top-to-bottom, the track “Be Healthy” is especially relevant and inspiring for vegetarians and vegans.
The song begins with, “I don’t eat meat, no dairy, no sweets. Only ripe vegetables, fresh fruit, and whole wheat.” It goes on to promote lentil soup for mental health, ginger root for aging, and drinking eight glasses of water a day. Nice!
Also on Z Living: These 'Healthy' Foods Aren't Actually That Good For You
“Ham ‘N’ Eggs”
by A Tribe Called Quest
Released 27 years ago with the album People’s Instinctive Travels And The Paths Of Rhythm, the song “Ham ‘N’ Eggs” is one of hip-hop’s oldest pro healthy-eating tracks. Not as political or scientific as some of our other examples, the cheery hook proclaims, “I don’t eat no ham n’ eggs, because they’re high in cholesterol.”
The track goes on to praise vegetarian ideals and prioritizing ingredients like asparagus, collard greens, and beets. It also talks about the allure of junk foods with lines like, “gumdrops and gummy bears tease my eyes.” It then describes those treats as “filled with goop.”