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Off the Cuff

Danny LoPriore: In Our Darkest Hour, Searching for the Light—OFF THE CUFF

By TDrew

This week we go Off the Cuff with rapper and social media celebrity Danny LoPriore.

Danny reveals how the COVID-19 environment has impacted him as an entertainer and provides insight into his struggles with addiction and the lessons derived from his experiences.

Watch The Full Interview On YouTube

Danny LoPriore Interview Key Points

 In this interview, Danny discusses the following issues:

  • His struggles with mental health.
  • The stigma that is attached to mental health.
  • His plans for putting out an album.
  • Strength and vulnerability as a male.
  • His battles with Type-2 Diabetes.
  • Fear of looking stupid in front of others.
  • The importance of choosing your associates wisely.
  • His struggles with food addiction.
  • How hardship can make you more resilient.
  • How he has managed to overcome addictions to substances and alcohol. 
  • The importance of surrounding yourself with people who know more than you.
  • How he got started in comedy.
  • The importance of being 1% better every day.
  • The importance of training your psyche to focus on the positive.
  • The importance of seeing yourself as an individual.
  • The importance of not settling but constantly working to make yourself better.
  • Focusing on the real things that matter in life.
  • Being passionate about the process and the chase rather than constantly fixarting on the end result. 
  • The vital importance of exercise to help health with mental health issues. 
  • The importance of pursuing your passion.
  • Doing one thing different every day.

About Danny LoPriore

Danny LoPriore is a rapper and video content creator who saw initial success on Vine. He has a large following on SoundCloud. Danny lives in New York and is currently 31 years of age. He has tremendous followings on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Danny is currently working to release his first album. 

Danny LoPriore wearing a woolly hat.
Danny LoPriore Is a Rapper and Video Content Creator

Find Danny LoPriore Online

Watch The Full Interview On YouTube

  • On Off the Cuff, we’ve been able to bring in so many different types of personalities and people. Whether it’s people like you like creatives that are just funny as hell and amazing. It’s just music and just like being good at things like that. Along with like, I talked to my boy, his name is Doug Middleton, he’s a safety for the Jaguars. And he has a mental health foundation that he started in memory of his best friend that took his own life, just stuff like that. We’ve been able to, I think really start this thing off in a cool way, man.
  • Yeah, mental health is definitely something, I think that most creative people struggle with. And as a creative myself, I have my own struggles with mental health. I’m diagnosed bipolar, type II, which I was diagnosed, I wanna say, close to a year ago. I’ve always had some kind of, mood kind of disorder, I knew that. But I never really was diagnosed until I really sought the help to get after it and kind of go that route and figure out, okay, I can’t fix this on my own. And it started to affect all facets of my life. So when I got that diagnosis, for me, it was like, there’s a lot of stigma, especially amongst men with mental illness. It’s a sign of a weakness or a sign of you’re crazy and a lot of these things that you realize. I honestly feel like if I wasn’t bipolar, I wouldn’t be as creative as I am. So it’s a gift and a curse.
  • Right, you won’t be as awesome.
  • Yeah, it wouldn’t allow my brain to go to the places where I needed to go to, to try and be funny. I guess that’s just the way I look at it.
  • Yeah, no, well, and this is the thing, just for a little bit of background, just for our audience, for those that aren’t familiar with Danny LoPriore, D’Lo, he is an incredible creator on social media platforms, Instagram. I first came across you on Vine, Back in Vine, Vine was so amazing because it’s so much more difficult to put out dope stuff in a six-second window than it is to, like, it forces you to be creative. And so that’s where I first came across your brilliance and all your content and stuff like that, moving on Instagram. So I just wanted to give–
  • Yeah, yeah.
  • and stuff like that, just that
  • Well, if you’ve ever seen the “Let Me Suck Your Titties” video, that’s me.
  • It’s the most brilliant. Look, I’m one of those people, man, like, it’s just me just, just speaking candidly. I’m just like, we’re cool now and that’s amazing, but I’ve just been a fan for such a long time. Because I’m one of those people where I’m like, I really have always been in the camp of, “Danny needs to put out a mixtape. ‘Cause it’s like, it’s this whole group of people that are like, “I love music! And I wanna do music! And blah, blah, blah!” But they just don’t have the feel. They don’t have the timing, they’re not able to, and I don’t know, man. You got it. So like, a small nugget of this conversation is me letting you know that I’ve been waiting for a mixtape for a long time. I don’t know, maybe you–
  • I have some news for you.
  • Man.
  • So I signed with Nice Work, which is run by Pat Corcoran, who is, I don’t know if you’re familiar with Pat, but he’s a Chances manager, Chance the rapper.
  • Yeah.
  • And we are working on putting together a six to eight track album.
  • Wow. Wow.
  • And the album is being recorded now. I’m in Florida, I have two tracks in the bag.
  • Wow.
  • An album is obviously, fucking Corona fucked everything up. But we had to push some stuff back, in terms of getting like stuff back to get out, to get mastered. Like a lot of people don’t have their equipment or they’re not in their studio or whatever. But yeah, so we got a six to eight track EP coming. So that’s breaking news here.
  • Man, all this is wow! Man, all this is wow! This is amazing, wow! I am completely in a place of joy, right?
  • Yes, I saved it for you, I saved the for you. I’m having a good day, man. I found out I’ve reversed my type II diabetes today.
  • Talk about that, man. Talk about that.
  • So I’m around 220 to 225, depending on what I ate that day, right now. When I was diagnosed with diabetes, I was 281 pounds and I struggled with alcoholism. I’ve been sober for two years almost and some drug use and I was able to flip that around. And the day the doctors told me I had diabetes, I knew something had to change, in myself. But also a lot of people don’t understand is, a lot of mental health and a lot of physical health is the company you keep around you. So I’m not one, listen, I did any drug I wanted because I wanted to do it. I drank any beer I wanted to drink, it’s because I wanted to do it. Any Don Julio I ever drank, I wanted to drink it.
  • Right.
  • So, I see you over there.
  • Yeah, chilling.
  • Yeah, chilling. And it’s hard to tell yourself that you can’t do things in moderation. I don’t have that ability. That’s an ability that I realized that I lacked. But the main thing is that I lack the ability with food. This is what a lot of America struggles with. I had to completely rewire my brain and get myself to a situation and a position that I could not be interfered with by any nonsense because for me, I’m a procrastinator. So when it comes to work, I’ll procrastinate, I will, I’ll be the first one to say it. The only thing I wouldn’t procrastinate on was eating fucking foods, drinking booze, and getting high. That was it. So once I found out I had diabetes, I had to realize I had to get on this road to recovery, so I stopped doing drugs and I stopped drinking cold Turkey, which caused me to have a nervous breakdown.
  • Yeah.
  • My body shut down, I didn’t sleep for four days, I thought motherfuckers were coming after me and shit. I was paranoid.
  • Yeah I thought I owed my connects and money and shit. I was mad worried. I was freaking out, I was freaking out. So I decided, I said, “I’ve got to go get help.” So I went, I checked myself in, ’cause now the suicidal thoughts start happening. Now you have all this going on, like, “I can’t live like this anymore, I can’t do it.” So all that started happening. And then I said, you know what? I’m gonna give this one last shot ’cause it hurts to, discouraging, that’s the word I was looking for, it’s very discouraging when you’re doing all this stuff to get better, you’re not using anymore, you’re not drinking anymore, and your body’s just reacting in a way that is bad. And you’re sick, you’re physically sick now. And plus having panic attacks, anxiety about it, also I didn’t know that I was bipolar yet. So all of this happened at once. So I was like, if I’m doing everything right, and this is what doing everything right, is about, I won’t be here anymore, I’m gonna check out this bitch. But I came to, I said, I’m gonna do this one time. A lot of people close to me at the time were like, “Oh, you don’t need to go in there, you don’t need to do that.” I told them all, go fuck themselves. And I checked myself in and I was there for five days and they balanced me out. They figured out what was going on with my body and I came out of there with goals. But the main thing is that I came out of there with a network. And I started psychotherapy, I started cognitive behavioral therapy, I started meditating, I started eating better, not just not eating. So I thought like, “Oh, all right, so just don’t eat and maybe would be better.” My body was shutting down. And then I’m diabetic on top of all of that. So it was a lot for my body to take at once. So me going into, and whenever I tell this story, I don’t recommend, “Hey, go into a psych ward or do that.” I just knew that this was the last thing, I think last option I had, I thought.
  • Right.
  • So when I went these people, they took care of me, man. I slept better in there than I did in years and years. And it was one of those situations where I said, “If I don’t get the help now, I’m gonna end up dead, dude. It’s gonna be whether from my health, myself, or just being dead inside as a person all the time. And I was like, I bring too much joy to people’s lives to be fucking sad.
  • A tremendous amount, right?
  • And I feel like there’s this sad stigma that comedians or people that are funny, that they have to be depressed or sad. And I take an antidepressant, I take a panic disorder and I also take medication for my diabetes and my bipolar. So, I was always one of those people that medication doesn’t help. I know a lot of people are on the fence about medication. I’m not saying go off medication, I’m just telling you the route that I went, and the route saved my life, bro. I wouldn’t be here. I’m telling you 100%, I would not be here. Maybe in a physical form I’d still be here, but I wouldn’t be having this conversation with you. And I wouldn’t be where I’m at in my life and with the success that I have now. I wouldn’t be there if I didn’t take five days, out of my 31 years of life to get myself right. Now, you can’t fix it all in five days, but it’s a good start? And listen, I still suffer, I get panic attacks from time to time. I had a panic attack in Target, like three days ago, but I have coping mechanisms now. These are things they don’t teach you at home.
  • Exactly.
  • Things they don’t teach you in school. They don’t teach you outside. Your friends don’t teach you how to cope with shit.
  • Yeah, it’s that. But also as men, it’s always been like, we can’t go there.
  • Yeah, we can be sad.
  • Right. It’s always been, we can’t go there. It’s always been, Oh like, well, if you go there then you’re this. I think that the beautiful thing about all of this, and that in itself, I can tell that, you radiate that you just feel better. Like what’s the difference in how you feel, is it liberating? Does it allow you to be more naturally yourself? What’s the difference in feeling?
  • In entertainment, whether it’s music, comedy, podcasting, anything, anything, there’s a regiment. And I used to think that drinking and cocaine were a part of that recipe of making me like, oh yeah, like now, I’m in the zone. Now I’m gonna crack everybody up, I’m gonna kill this shit. I’m gonna kill this track, I’m gonna kill this set, I’m gonna kill this podcast, I’m gonna kill all this shit. Coming out of getting off of those substances and fixing my life internally, so it can blossom externally, made me realize that I could be just as funny, if not more, without these substances. I leaned on these things, I repressed memories with these things. These were crutches to me, you know? And I was using them, not knowing that I was suppressing things about myself and it sucks. I explained it like this, Why did God not make cookies healthy? Why did he have to make salad healthy? Or why did God make alcohol have to be bad for you in excess? Why can’t it just be?
  • Yup.
  • And it comes back to the thing that I can not do things in moderation. So for me, I can’t drink in moderation, I can’t, I just can’t. I can’t do blow in moderation, I can’t have fun with it. I have to finish it, if it’s around and I see it, I’m doing it, that’s it. And I didn’t think that I could function. So to answer your question, the transformation was getting to know myself for the first time in my entire life. So all of these things, you never wanna go back to being the old you, that’s not possible. But you could be the new you, you can create a new version of yourself, the one that you deserve, if you really believe in that inside. A lot of people wanna get back to the old me. You can’t get back to the old me, it’s over with, it’s gone, it’s done. Whether you’re a dick, an addict, I said a dick, whether you’re a dick, you’re probably always gonna be a dick. But whether it’s addiction, substance abuse, whatever. Even before that, you’re never gonna get back to that. That’s why you got to focus on where do I just go from here? And it’s really one day at a time, there’s days I wake up, I don’t wanna fucking get out of bed but I know old me would stay in bed, now I get up. And it’s not getting up to be like, I’m gonna go run five miles. I’m like, nah, dude, just wake up.
  • Right.
  • Make your bed or something, have some coffee, respond to a couple of emails, do something to keep you from getting out of that rut of being like, nah, this is what I used to do. Old habits die hard, that’s all they do. New habits are hard. That’s why the analogy I was using is you eat a big Mac, there’s 1800 calories in it. You know how many calories you burned when you run a mile?
  • Yeah, it’s freaking not a lot at all, probably like–
  • It’s like a couple hundred,
  • Yes, like 100, like 150.
  • So just by simple math, you would have to run a shit load of miles just to burn that off. It’s the same thing with mental health and it’s the same thing with getting your life back. We do those things ’cause they’re easy, getting better as hard. Also getting better without help is hard, that’s why I had to get help. And like you said, even as men, not even just going to the hospital, it’s going to talk to your boys.
  • Exactly.
  • If you have some friends that are like, nah, I feel you. And then you have some friends that’s like, yo, stop being a bitch.
  • Yeah, you got bitch problems.
  • Yeah, so you gotta weed some people out. And I’ve never wanted to be one of those people, I never thought like I could be a person that’s like, yeah, I can’t have certain people in my life, but I had to, I had to make conscious decisions. And when I see them it’s love, I’ve got love for everybody, but I just knew I had to get rid of everything that was detrimental. And sometimes some people are detrimental to your growth. And I just realized that if I’m taking time for myself, I got to take the time out,too, to analyze the the situation that I’m in and the situation that I’m putting myself in. Has nothing to do with those people on a personal level, it has to do with me on a personal level. So these are all the things that I had to do to help me transition to this period of my life, where I could wake up fucking happy, bro.
  • Right.
  • I went years just not waking up happy.
  • You would’ve never known.
  • That’s the thing.
  • [Danny] Would’ve never known.
  • And entertainment saved my life too, just as much as that. But it’s like tearing your ACL and everyone’s wondering whether you’re going to be the same, but you’re the one that’s thinking that more than anybody else.
  • Yup. Yup. Corey, my business partner, I have conversations with him about this.
  • He trades my boy Julian.
  • Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
  • Yeah, Brent Seabrook he tore his ACL four different times and had like seven or eight knee surgeries. He played, his whole senior season at Illinois with no ACL, like starting and he’s like 6’5 at the time. He was like 6’53.
  • Yes, a big dude.
  • Yeah, and I’ve had this conversation with him and it’s like, man, this is one of the reasons why I know that with what we do business wise, friendship wise, whatever, we’ll always come out on the other end, we’ll always be in the trenches is because if you can get through something like that, physically, mentally, just the fortitude and be able to persevere, and then there isn’t a shift if we can’t get through, especially together. And that’s like, with you and what you’ve been through and what you’ve gone through, there’s so many different types of parallels and other situations that are similar to what you have been through. But I think one of the most amazing parts about all that is the fact that you were like, okay, here’s what’s around me. Here is what is making me feel a certain way of what’s around me. Now let me figure out what I need to get rid of so I can own me feeling the way that I want to feel. As a man, as an individual, as an entrepreneur, as an entertainer, as an artist, that is an amazing, amazing thing because it’s not easy to do. Because you get caught up in your day to day, you get caught up in this and that. And it’s hard once you get into pattern to change the things that have been so consistent around you.
  • Yeah, It’s very true. I think another thing that I’ve noticed that you’re very good at doing that I think is an amazing thing, is just the fact that you see strength in vulnerability. On your social or whatever, you talk directly to your your fans and your followers and you’re like, thank you for rocking with me, I’ve gone through this, I’ve been through this, thank you for being that, blah, blah, blah. Talk a little bit about strength in vulnerability. Because I think no matter if you’re an entrepreneur, if you’re an athlete, especially a male, I feel like a lot of men think that vulnerability, depending on how you do that is not a strength. But I see it as the ultimate strength if you’re able to do it the right way.
  • I’ll give you an example. I think it’s a quote, if not, maybe I did it and it’s a bar. But if I’m the smartest person in a room, I’m in the wrong room.
  • Yup, 100%.
  • And for me, if I have all the answers in a room, I’m in the wrong room. Now I used to be somebody that if somebody told me, do you know how to do this? I would say yes, because I was in fear of looking stupid or in fear of, I always struggled in school with that too. I was very smart. Nowadays, I don’t know. A couple of concussions later, I forgot where my fucking glasses are most of the time. But back when I was a kid, I was very smart. I was very intelligent, very creative, terrible student, because I was afraid I would fail. I was afraid that people would make fun of me for not knowing something. I fell in love with, and this is so like cliche, but it’s true, but I just fell in love with the process of things. Because I had to fall in love with the process of making myself better and getting better as a person. So if I can handle that process, like how C could with his knees, if I can handle it with my brain and my body, now I can learn the process of other things. now I can learn Final Cut. Now I can learn how to balance the track on Logic. Now I can learn how to master a vocal. Now I could do these things, ’cause I’ve been through harder shit.
  • Yup.
  • There ain’t no YouTube tutorial on how to fix your life in five days.
  • Nope.
  • There’s not, but there’s a YouTube tutorial for how to make something on Photoshop, There’s a YouTube tutorial on how to master a record. There’s a YouTube tutorial about how to fix your vocals. There’s a YouTube tutorial to teach you how to make a better quality podcast. There’s a YouTube tutorial on how to make clothes. Everything is on YouTube. And I always tell people this, is that like you work with a partner, I have a partner too. And if it wasn’t for me meeting my business partner I wouldn’t know these things were possible, I’m telling you.
  • Same here.
  • And you need people in your life like that. My buddy, Joe Santagato, if anybody here listening knows who he is? Great kid, gave me a shot. I took the ball and I ran that shit to the house. But you need people like that who know more than you. So you can know more when the next kid comes along and be like, alright, let’s cut that whole process in half. Now we’re cooking with gas. And I always tell people this too, about being like an entrepreneur or working for yourself or working with a partner and splitting money or or they give you a salary or this, that, and the third. There is no better money than you money.
  • Yup.
  • And I never knock anyone’s job, I never knock anyone’s hustle. I never have and I never will. But I used to drive a van at a kid’s home for troubled youth. And one of the teachers used to get in all the time and I used to drive him back and forth and we would have conversations. And one day he said to me, he goes, “What are you doing working here? I was like, “Ah, I’m kind of in-between jobs. I have a big following on the internet.” He’s like, “Dude, you’re funny and I hear you singing in the van, what are you doing here?” And I was just like, “Hey, I’ll just try to make ends meet.” And then I remember he got out of the car, he looked at me, he said, “It’s a shame. All right, I’ll see you tomorrow.” That day I quit that job. That day I quit that job and I started applying for jobs that my social handles would help me get. Whether it was working in startups, which I did for a little bit, working at comedy clubs so I could just be in the room. I took a job at Caroline’s Comedy Club, just so I could be in the room with Tracy Morgan, Tiffany Haddish, almost everybody from SNL, Colin Jost, Michael Che, Pete Davidson, all those, just so I could be in the room with them and see how they move and see how they work. And J.B. Smoove, everybody was in there, everybody. Dave came in there, he didn’t go on stage, but we chilled in the back, I got to meet him, it was fire. Chris Rock was in there, Whoopi Goldberg. These are people, David Alan Grier, whose number I still have in my phone, which I’ll never delete. These are people who I grew up watching on television, or I watch on television with my family on the weekends. And now I get the inside to see how they work and also their riders, too and what they put in their rooms. which of course, some of them are fucking outrageous. But you know, I just did that so I could be closer to the comedy community and keep my finger on the pulse ’cause I’m going for it now. And then fast forward to another conversation which I had with my business partner, Joe, he hired me to be an editor. He didn’t hire me to be on screen. I had to make myself undeniable to be on screen. That’s what the people have to understand, just because you have a following doesn’t mean somebody else’s following is gonna rock with you.
  • Hmm.
  • We’ve created such niche cultures throughout social media, that it’s very hard to get, have the same fan base as him, have the same fan base as him have the same fan base as him. I had to prove and change again, and that’s a transition. Now I have to transition from, I’m behind the scenes doing social media at a comedy club, to be an onscreen every Monday. I got people messaging me about my show now. I used to talk to people about their shows.
  • Right.
  • You know what I’m saying? And Joe sat me down at a table and was like, listen man, I’m gonna keep it 100 with you, You’re wasting talent. You should be way more successful than you are right now. And he kept it real with me. And that goes back to what I was saying, the people you keep around you, man, are they gonna push you forward or are they gonna take you down? And I’m not saying everybody go out there, cut this, cut that, but think about it.
  • Think about it, yeah.
  • You’re only as good as the company you keep. And you’re only as good as your last game. That’s how it is. Those are two quotes that I always kept from a coach of mine. You’re only as good as your last game. ‘Cause we used to come in eighth, ninth grade being like, “I hit 22 last night.” And he was like, “Yeah, guess what? This kid’s guarding you, he’s way better than my little white kid that was guarding you the other day. I had six points. So you’re only as good as your last game, Now you averaged six points a game. And the same thing is with the company you keep. If you’re with a certain company and they’re drinking and they’re doing lines all night, and they’re staying up, they’re smoking cigarettes, they’re chilling. Everybody’s safe, it’s a safe environment. Nobody’s od’ing, nothing crazy, nobody’s getting hurt. That’s not the circle though, because sooner or later, if you hang around in the living room long enough, sooner or later you gonna become furniture. So I was just becoming another piece of the dining room, of living room set at that point. I was like, Oh, this crew needs a fucking ottoman, right? I’ll be the ottoman. You know what I’m saying?
  • Yes
  • So I had to move out, I had to move out. I had to pack my shit and move out. I lived at home with my brother, me and my brother, Michael, who’s another great content creator.
  • Yeah, hilarious
  • We lived in the same bedroom until we were 20 years old. And then my mom kicked me out. And my mom didn’t kick me out because she knew I was using and drinking, she was just like, “I can’t do this. I can’t have two grown men, I got your father.
  • Like, what are you doing?
  • Yeah, it’s like, I gotta deal with your dad. And then she kicked me out. My parents, I love them to death, but they never had a lot of money.
  • Hmm
  • They struggled at times, it was really hard. I’m not gonna say I was the poorest kid in the world, there was food in my stomach, but sometimes we would have some trouble. That taught me that when my parents go, I ain’t getting shit but love and that’s all I want. I’ve had a job since I was 13, I was a camp counselor. I’ve had a job since I was 13 years old. So I knew that at some point I’m going to have to do this on my own. And if I have to do it on my own, all these other things need to fit into place and all the right people need to be in my life. Because if they’re not, I am already built to be full. I’m already vulnerable, which is something I used to never admit. But I’m the most overly emotional, overly vulnerable, overly moody person I’ve ever met, and that’s okay. But these are things I would deny in the past because I didn’t have the necessary tools to get myself out of these fucking ruts, man, just over, over and over and over, over again. I look at a guy like you, it’s like, you post a lot of your fitness stuff online and you post it more in a way that’s, I’m doing it, you could do it too.
  • [Danny] Hmm.
  • Is the vibe that I get from you. It’s not really like a flex, like, “Yeah, y’all I’m in here, you be doing that shit.” But, you’re like, I’ll be doing with that shit too. I don’t got to come in here with all this jewelry on his shit. I’m using my hands for no reason, I’m putting my hand over here like John Cena and shit. You see what I’m saying?
  • That’s the thing, man. It’s wellness and this is what I’m trying to get across with 1AND1 Life and the continent and just what we’re trying to do. The whole thing and the whole idea is just about being 1% better each day. It’s not about like, I played college basketball, I have asthma. I’m never gonna be able to bench press 225 but I do know this, If I do not break a sweat for like four or five days, I’ll go crazy, I know myself.
  • Yeah.
  • It’s really like, if I can be a spark for anything, if I can be a spark for you to understand and take that one step, it doesn’t have to be like working out a wellness activity. It’s getting more in touch with yourself from self-awareness or mentally, it’s thinking that you can achieve something like that and in it of itself has confidence in mental health. If me or my platform can be the spark for that, then that’s it.
  • Do you suffer from any mental illness or mental issues?
  • Yeah, that’s why I’m so passionate about it, man. I’ll share this here because this is what this is about. When I was, when I was from 11 to 14, my best friend that I grew up with, his father took his own life when I was eight years old. He was like a second father to me, that was very traumatic for me. So then I had to go into therapy and stuff like that because it just messed me up. In-between that time, what was kind of triggered from that was I gained tons of weight. I just ate terribly from like 11 to 14. I’ve always been a nerd growing up, I didn’t fit in, I was reading chapter books when I was three years old. I was just a nerd. I skipped first grade. So I just didn’t fit in. So like from 11 to 14 was that stage where nobody liked me, I didn’t really have any friends, I didn’t have my best friend. And it literally was the reason why to this day, Kid Cudi, Kanye West, music, all these things are my best friend. And why I love music so much is because I essentially would lock myself in my room and music would be like my friend. Only friend that I had was the music. I would listen to Kid Cudi, I would listen to Kanye. Their music gave me confidence. You know what I’m saying? And it got to a point where when I was, I think I was like, it was either when I was 12 or 13, it got to be too much in terms of me not fitting in, me not feeling like I belong, that I found my dad’s gun in the house and I was on my knees and I put it to my head and there was a voice that came into my head. And to this day, I believe it’s my grandfather, ’cause I actually was named after him. He passed away shortly before I was born and I was named after him. And it was just like deep, baritone voice, and it was like, “Put the gun down, my son, I have really special plans for you.” And I dropped it and that was my moment of me being okay, like, I can control this. And then from there it was literally just me gaining confidence with athletics, gaining confidence with who I was. And that being smart was cool. If girls didn’t like me at that time period, they were gonna like me at some point. Yeah, yeah, yeah yeah.
  • It was that thing, man, and to this day, that’s why, I was… The other thing that made me have depression at that age was I was bullied. I was bullied in school ’cause I had character. I was a nice kid, I couldn’t hurt a fly. I’m still that way. I was big, I was being picked on, kids would throw rocks at me at recess. All this stuff, picking on me, like he’s the biggest kid, let’s see if we can get them react, but that wasn’t my heart. You know what I mean? And to this day that’s like who I am. So that’s what made me so passionate about it. I had to go to therapy, had to go to that. I’ve never had to be on any antidepressants or any medication or any any things like that.
  • Good, good. But what I’m extremely passionate about is just normalizing these conversations and giving the tools and the understanding that it happens to so many of us and it’s okay. But whether you have to explore those things or whether it’s just a mindset shift, like you can do it, you can be in control and you’re great. Like you are dope, you have special abilities within you and no one else should be able to penetrate that. That to me is like, and that’s training. Once I train my mind to understand that the thoughts in my mind, I can either have two choices, I can either think about what’s not going right for me, what I don’t like and what’s negative or I can let what I want, what I wanna manifest and who I want to be and what I wanna be around. I can let that dominate my brain. And if you can learn how to do that, if you can train your psyche to do that, then like you just start to–
  • Possibilities are endless.
  • Exactly.
  • And that’s another thing, like you said, like 11 to 13 is a big age, ’cause, yeah, I know more about the brain than the average person, because I’ve just became fully enamored with mental health when I went through it. So like I’ve read so much shit about the brain. Those ages like 11 to 14 or like 11 to 16, even, it’s a lot of formative years on who you’re gonna be as a person. So these are where you pick up bad habits. Even younger, you start picking up bad habits. You suffer with confidence issues. See me, I grew up, I was handsome, I was athletic, girls liked me. It was completely different.
  • Yeah.
  • But I still felt like something’s not right. So they were still there. It’s two total things of the spectrum now. And now, like you said, you found it through sports, you build your confidence up through this. I got asked to speak at my old high school a few years back. I gave out a scholarship award and I told the kids in the high school, I said, listen, what you’re going through right now might sound like it’s the hardest thing and you’re never gonna get out of here and you’re never gonna feel different. And I was like, I want you guys to look around the room and look at all your classmates. These people that dictate your everyday feelings and your lives. You’re going to know, statistically, maybe 2% of them 10 years from now. And I’m talking about, know them, be friends with them. Social media now you can keep tabs on everybody. But you’re not going to know anybody in here. These people aren’t going to be mainstays in your life. Don’t allow them to be mainstays in your brain and start to think about yourself as an individual. And just remember that these things, even in your older life, you can change these things. These things are changeable. It’s the work though that people don’t wanna do . And you’re hearing from a lazy, procrastinator of yesteryear who used to cut school, have a 58 GPA. I’m convinced they only let me graduate from high school ’cause they wanted me to get the fuck out of there. Still convinced, when they gave me my diploma, my diploma wasn’t even in it. They had to send it to me later. Nobody thought I was getting out of there. This is a true story. This is true, if it’s not true, may I get struck by lightning in my sleep, holding my entire family.
  • You got out of there.
  • I got out of there and I just want people to know, whether you struggled with weight, which is still something I struggle with. If you struggle with mental illness, if you struggle with confidence, if you just struggle with anything, work. Once you learn and surround yourself with people who are hungry and want the best for you, you have no choice but to adapt because if you don’t, those people will disappear. It’s like when you text a friend from back in the day, you try to chill with them and every night they’re like, “Nah, I got something going on.” Sooner or later, they’re gonna stop calling you.
  • [Thomas] Hmm
  • That’s what opportunities do. Opportunities are the same way. I used to be the guy, oh, I’ll wait for something to come around. Something will come around, something usually comes around. Forget that. That aspect of your brain needs to be focused on real things that matter. By real things that matter, it’s your health, it’s your family, if you’re lucky enough and blessed enough to have one, there’s some people out there who do not have families. And what you wanna do, what you wanna do. The world is too technically advanced now for you not to make a living off what you wanna do. And I look at it like this, say, you want to be a rapper, I think Jim Carrey had a quote like this, I’m not gonna quote it ’cause I don’t wanna fuck it up. But Jim Carrey has a quote basically saying his dad was a great musician, but he took a job as an accountant to like help them and pay the bills he gave up on his dream really? And he got fired from that job and ended up living in a car. So why would you put all your time and energy into something you don’t wanna do? And you hate doing already, that you could fail at. There’s no such thing as failing, chasing something. If you look at Drake, right, Bring it Back the music, Drake. That guy can retire now, never has to make a song ever again. And I’m just using the extreme here because this is what you need to know. This guy makes more music than anyone. Whether you like him or not. He makes more music than anyone because he’s in love with the process and the chase. Money’s great, he loves that. He’ll tell you, he loves that. He’s into all that flex and all that shit. Good for you, man, I do it too. Just on a much smaller scale.
  • You still got the versace robe.
  • I still got the versace robe, I’m chilling. Yeah, and my kick game is ridiculous.
  • Crazy.
  • But I look at guys like that, I’m like, “What keeps this guy going?” And it’s the thrill of doing what he loves to do for a living. There is no end game. If you’re doing what you do every day and it’s what you wanna do every day. That’s what he’s doing. And you look at all of these people who are successful. They’re doing things they wanted to do. Everybody told Dame Dash and Jay Z we’re not gonna sign you. They did it themselves.
  • [Thomas] Yup.
  • And everyone wants to talk about Dame this, and Dame that, there’s no Roc-A-Fella without Dame. So people could talk shit about Dame if they want. There’s no Roc-A-Fellar without Dame. Because at the time Jay needed somebody to go to knock up and kick somebody’s fucking door down and yell at somebody. He needed an asshole around him. Now he doesn’t need that. Now he’s got lawyers and shit. But that’s what I’m saying is if you take anything from this, anybody out there, mental health, depression, these things are treatable. Whether it’s through medication, therapy, mixtures of both, exercise, which is a huge one, dieting, what you put in your body changes the way your body’s chemistry is. It just what it is. So that’s what people have to understand. Change some things about yourself first. Take baby steps. Don’t look at the end goal, there is no end goal. If you want your family to be comfortable, that’s fine. But you’re gonna have to keep going for your family to be comfortable forever.
  • Yup.
  • You know, I’m not in this to be like, I want my kids, kids, kids, kids to be straight. I wanna live a comfortable life. Everyone falls in love with the extravagance of being like, I wanna be a millionaire. I wanna do this, I wanna do that. Focus on what you’re good at. The money will come, but focus on what you’re good at. Hone your craft. And if you wanna just live a regular, normal, comfortable life, there’s nothing wrong with that either. But if you wanna do what you wanna do, do it, do it. That’s what Nike has been saying for years.
  • For years.
  • But I just think about people who are stuck. The way that I got to where I did, I did one thing different every day. Either I woke up earlier, I ate breakfast. Instead of a bacon, egg, and cheese, I ate oatmeal. I tried to make one hook a day. I tried to do 10 pushups, total in a day, I used to have stairs in my building that I used to run up just once a day, the next day I tried to do it twice. And then I take a break and then I tried to do it again after. So these are just small steps. All of these small steps, they become big, I’m telling you. It takes time but if you’re watching this, you’re probably relatively in a younger demographic and it’s okay if you don’t know what you wanna do right now, but don’t settle for something that you know you’re not gonna wanna do forever. That’s how people become miserable.
  • Yup.
  • On an entrepreneurial point, I’m in a blessed position that I get to make money off my likeness. But I had to get after that, though. Nobody knew who I was. You have to be ready and then get your mind ready, get your body ready, then get after what you got to get after. Don’t go into anything blind. Keep the right people around you, love your family. be good to fucking people, man. Save your money, which is something I’ve had to learn the hard way. Okay, okay? I’ve made a good amount of money and I’ve spent a good amount of money. And I wish I saved a lot of my money. Just know for me, as I wear all this jewelry, save your money. Save your money, invest your money, invest in your dreams, invest in yourself. And that’s not failure even if you do not come out on the other side, the way you envisioned yourself. At least you fucking tried, which is better than 98% of people, probably in the world. At least you tried, you didn’t make an excuse. You made an album, you went on tour, you did these things. You tried to make it, you knocked on doors. You did stand up, you did all these things, you started a podcast. No one can take the fact that you’ve tried, away from you, ever.
  • Ever.
  • And that’s why I think of Allen Iverson as an idol of mine. Never won a championship, changed the face of the NBA, though, style icon, African American Kid, changed the way an entire organization wears clothes, gets tattoos, has swag, never won a championship.
  • Had me want to get cornrows as a kid, my mom wouldn’t let me, never.
  • I’m half Puerto Rican, half Italian I had cornrows ’cause of him.
  • They didn’t have rubber bands. So I went and found black tape and I cut black tape in the shape of a rubber band and taped it around my wrist, so I could feel like Allen Iverson.
  • All the time, all the time.
  • This was before like, I was so I was like, why doesn’t it Nike have these accessories? But I’m just going to Reebok. I’m just gonna make it any way. I got a black tube sock, cut it.
  • Sleeved it. I used to cut gloves and put the sleeve on my finger. So I could look like Allen Iverson.
  • What does a finger band do?
  • Not shit. What is the performance benefit of a finger band.
  • Nothing and all I saw was the three, was stitched into it, and I said, “I want that.”
  • And I’m telling you and my dad was lucky enough, my dad was a sports writer, He was lucky enough to have Allen Iverson be one of the people he did an interview on. I also grew up a little bit in South Jersey and a friend of mine’s dad was a VP of like, public relations or something for the Steers so I got to watch him play all the time, which was great. I got to meet him a bunch. He was great. You don’t have to be a G.O.A.T. This is what people have to understand. You don’t have to be a G.O.A.T. to be great. You don’t have to win the highest of highs to be great. Think about how many athletes, rappers, entrepreneurs that are great. Even if they’re not the G.O.A.T. they’re eating.
  • Impact.
  • Impact. You could still have an impact without being a G.O.A.T.. And the impact of what I’m talking about is I have people message me every day. Yeah, man, I was going through this, I listened to your show, saved my life.
  • Yup.
  • I’m not Joe Rogan. Spotify ain’t giving me a hundred million, but I’m helping people. So by helping myself, I’m helping people, everybody eats, somehow.
  • Everybody eats, B.
  • Everybody eats, B
  • Everybody eats, B,
  • UBI.
  • UBI.
  • Get shot everyday, B.
  • Man, thank you for–
  • Thanks for letting me rant.
  • Thank you for sitting down with me, man. It’s been an amazing conversation for what it’s worth. Watching you and watching this from you and watching this transformation of you is truly been a beautiful thing, man.
  • Thank you, man.
  • It’s just been amazing to watch and the icing on the cake, for lack of a better phrase, is the fact that you are no longer type II diabetic. That’s amazing, that is hard. That is a very, very hard thing to do. So I can honestly say from outside, looking in, I know the most tremendous years and moments of your life are definitely ahead of you. You always will forever have a deep rooted fan and friend in me. And it is again, it’s tremendous to just watch your greatness, watch your brilliance.
  • I appreciate that, brother Also just don’t be afraid to make mistakes, man. I’m talking to you.
  • Yeah.
  • Get yourself out there, man. I’m gonna make mistakes in my life, I got plenty more to make. Just take them as learning experiences, learn from everything, I’ve learned from you. And even in this small conversation, I got a better sense of knowing you as a person on a different level now.
  • Yeah, yeah.
  • This is why this is a great thing. Conversation changes people’s lives.
  • It does, man, it does. I think people really benefit hearing this come from you, man. ‘Cause you know, this just dope stuff. And again, congratulations on the deal, congratulations on management. Congratulations on the fire. Can’t wait.
  • Time to get busy
  • Thank you, man.
  • All right.
  • I appreciate you, Dan.
  • Later, bro.
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