Six times big name rappers indulged in their love of food

Whilst they're not cooking up red hot rhythms and rhymes in the studio, there's a handful of rappers who have transferred their talents to create culinary delights through T.V appearances, cookbooks and even setting up their own kitchens.

Henry Lewis

Last updated: 15th Jun 2018.
Originally published: 8th Jun 2018

Image: Matt Martin for GQ Magazine (credit)

Over the course of hip hip history, aside from showing off their fire flow and all conquering beats, rappers have often had a penchant for something equally as tasty and have shown this through numerous ways; be it TV shows, pop up restaurants or simply through their words.

While money, cars, drink, girls and the thug lifestyle are all an integral part of rap's lyrical content, plenty of MCs have got behind the mic to talk about food, be it personally, or sometimes as an analogy - take "I love you like a fat kid loves cake" from 50 Cent's 21 Questions as a starter or The Notorious B.I.G's 'Hypnotize' bar of: "I can fill you with real millionaire shit: escargot." as another appetiser. 

In a more literal sense, A Tribe Called Quest offered some well founded dietary advice on 1990 track 'Ham 'N' Eggs', professing: "I don't eat no ham and eggs, 'cause they're high in cholesterol / Ayo, Phife do you eat 'em? No, Tip do you eat 'em? / Uh-uh, not at all" while back in 1988, Slick Rick described a romantic meeting via a food shop on 'Mona Lisa' "I went into a store, to buy a slice of pizza / And bumped into a girl, her name was Mona (what?) Mona Lisa." 

Those cooking for the Sugarhill Gang were doubtless keen to make sure their culinary skills were on point or their disasters may just have ended up in lyrical form, taking 'Rappers Delight' from 1980 as a warning: ""Have you ever went over a friend's house to eat and the food just ain't no good? / I mean the macaroni's soggy, the peas are mushed, and the chicken tastes like wood."

It's not all one sided though, with restaurants and confectionery brands alike using rappers as a USP; take for example Nandos' Stormzy inspired Merky Burger, or potato chips Rap Snacks which feature the faces of Migos, Fetty Wap and more on their packaging, while Snoop Dogg recently showed off his signature series Oreo, which is obviously gin and juice and weed inspired.

Enough of the mouthwatering bars and questionable endorsements though, we're here to talk about the times rappers took their love of food out of the recording studio and away from advertisements as we look at six big name rappers who indulged in their love of food off the record and in the real world.

Action Bronson

Before embarking on a career as a rapper, which was originally just a hobby, Bronson was a respected fire-flame gourmet chef in New York City and hosted his own online cooking show titled Action in the Kitchen. After an accident in the kitchen left him with a broken leg, the chef focused on his second passion; hip hop, and dropped debut studio album Dr. Lecter in 2011.

His musical escapades have seen him join J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar and 360 in supporting Eminem on a brief tour of Australia, South Africa and New Zealand, while further albums have followed since. However it's Action's Viceland series Fuck, That's Delicious where he has made a serious impact on the culinary world, traversing the globe in search of the finest food, while also showing off his own cooking skills and smoking a shit tonne of weed. It truly is a must watch.

Snoop Dogg

As well as the aforementioned Oreo endorsement, Snoop's cuisine connections run even deeper having reworked his 2004 smash 'Drop It Like It's Hot' into an advert for Hot Pockets but truthfully that's not we're here for. Instead, we want to talk about 'Martha and Snoop's Potluck Dinner Party' a cooking TV show on VH1 that sees the D O double G team up with writer, businesswoman and TV personality Martha Stewart. (watch a clip within the playlist above)

Their relationship goes back to 2008, when Snoop guest-starred on Stewart’s show, Martha, to help her whip up some mashed potatoes and their series, which premiered in November 2016 sees Snoop getting well and truly stuck in in the kitchen and has featured guest appearances from Seth Rogan, Ice Cube, Rick Ross, Kelis, DJ Khaled, Sharon and Kelly Osbourne plus tonnes more.

Loyle Carner

The London rapper founded his Chilli Con Carner cookery school back in summer 2016 with the vision of providing people with ADHD (like himself) the opportunity to channel their energy put their talents to practise in a test kitchen in London’s Old Street. Running in the summer and Easter (time and funds depending), the project is specifically for 14 - 16 year olds and not only keeps them out of mischief but teaches them new skills and how to eat healthily.

Carner's love for food came from an early age, and in an interview with the Guardian revealed: “I was energetic and annoying and my mum would sometimes struggle to keep me in check,” he says. “But I loved making dinner. By the time I was six or seven I got to the point where I could cook on my own." The scheme is truly wonderful, and along with social media whizzes the Goma Collective, the rapper has developed something equally as brilliant as his music, and when he's not onstage he ploughs a lot of time and effort into the scheme.

Flavor Flav

Flavor Flav of Public Enemy fame is also a cooking school veteran with a passion for chicken that led him to open Flav’s Fried Chicken in Iowa, House of Flavor in Vegas, and Flavor Flav’s Chicken & Ribs but considering none of the restaurants lasted too long, you might want to take this section of the article with a pinch of salt.

His Las Vegas joint was backed by a promotional campaign that included jumping on an airplane's intercom on a flight heading to the city of lights - sadly though a management dispute forced the restaurants closure after six months. However, those that still have a craving for Flav's fried chicken can reportedly get their fix at Blondie's Sports Bar and Grill in Vegas, where Flav has a concession stand serving his food and also memorabilia.

2 Chainz

The Def Jam rapper had reportedly complained of stomach issues ahead of releasing his sophomore album B.O.A.T.S. II: Me Time, an album which included big name hook ups with Pharrell Williams, Drake, Lil Wayne, Pusha T, Fergie and plenty more - however it was the touted accompaniment of a cookbook that was possibly the most notable feature of the record. 

In an interview with XXL magazine at the time of release, the Atlanta MC revealed: “I’m cool enough to be comfortable in my own skin and try to educate people,” he said. “So with this cookbook I’m going to have probably about 14-15 meals, how many ever songs it is." and added “A lot of people use DVDs bonus stuff like that. I just want to come probably with my own little array of swag aprons with the cookbook. That will probably get me on The View or something like that.”

Prodigy

Whilst Mobb Deep rapper Prodigy served three years in prison he found solace in cooking and with the help of journalist Kathy Iandoli devised his own recipe book entitled  Commissary Kitchen: My Infamous Prison Cookbook. The recipes are built from ingredients readily available in prison kitchens as well as through family care packages, but much of that food isn't really nutritious, which was a worry for the rapper who suffers from sickle cell anaemia.

"I couldn't afford to get sick in prison," he explains. "My sickle cell is no joke, so I couldn't eat poorly or not exercise. And everything in jail is designed to do the exact opposite." For example, one of the few vegetables to show on a typical prison menu is green beans, and even then perhaps only once a week. Prison food can be so disgusting, it's even used as punishment. Not all of the recipes are high in nutritional value though as you may expect, with one dish "Prison Surprise" including ramen noodles, Doritos, canned mackerel and hot sauce. Tasty.