Asthma isn’t exactly the first thing you think about when you hear the names of legendary emcees like Pharohe Monche and Notorious BIG. But, they are but a few of the hip hop community that are (or were) drastically affected by the disease.
It limits their delivery, makes it tougher to keep up a grueling schedule and forces them to confront their own image. Perhaps it’s less concerning these days than back in Notorious’ time, when rappers carefully cultivated their image as gritty, tough, street kids.
Either way, HipHopDX/ Soul Culture has a pretty fascinating interview with Pharohe:
“The asthma forced me to really go against the issue and push the envelope in terms of breath control and doing runs that I wouldn’t probably try if I didn’t have asthma,” he explained. “If I didn’t have asthma, I’d probably rhyme like the Hip Hop rock-the-spot [style]. But the fact that that shit is an element that I was fighting against, I was like, ‘Fuck that, let me make that battle, lyrically [speaking].'”
It’s an oddly human glimpse of celebrity.