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Freeway GG Interview: Kidney Failure

Source: Nagina Lane / iOne Digital

After dropping his Think Free album last month, Freeway is staying focused on his fans, health, and upcoming tour. In his forthcoming documentary, also titled Think Free, the famed North Philly rapper will detail his struggle with kidney failure from beginning to present day. According to the legend, he was walking around with three of the risk factors, but blaming his fatigue on work and performing. Needless to say, it’s become important to him to speak to the community—Black men, especially—about staying healthy and going to the doctor regularly.

In our chat, Freeway talked about the moment he found out he was sick back in 2015, the hardest part of it all, getting support from the industry, and more. Tune in.

How he found out he was sick

“I just was feeling very fatigued…abnormally tired. It came to a point where food started tasting funny to me, then it came to a point where I couldn’t really hold much down. I went to the doctor, got blood work done and everything, and a week later the doctor told me to go to the emergency room because my kidney functions were out of whack and a bunch of shit was wrong.”

He adds, “Me being Muslim, the first thing I did was went to the masjid and prayed and asked God to help me deal with it. Then, I went to the hospital and I was diagnosed. The next day I started doing dialysis and I’ve been doing dialysis ever since three times a week, four hours a day.”

On the steps he’s taking to get healthy and stay healthy

“I just gotta make sure I do my treatments. I gotta watch what I put into my body, first and foremost. I gotta workout. Being a dialysis patient, there’s a certain amount of fluid that you can take in everyday so I have to watch my fluids—especially in the summertime, you tend to drink more. I’m following all those steps and everything is good. I’m on the transplant list, my numbers are great, and you know…just waiting for the transplant.”

The hardest part of dealing with kidney failure

“Just dealing with the fact that I’m f*cking on dialysis and I’m f*cking different from everybody else (laughs). Just dealing with it and having to stay strong and be the same, strong individual that I’ve been my whole life. I carry so much already, you know, so….”

On who he leans to for support

“Just my immediate family and a couple close friends that I got.”

On whether or not he hesitated to go public with his condition

“Not really…I felt crazy because I was unaware that I was running around with three of the risk factors. One, just being African American. Another one is hypertension and the third one is diabetes. I was running around with three of the risk factors and I was unaware so I felt like it would be selfish of me to hide it from the people when I have this huge platform and I can speak about it. So, that’s why we chose to spread the awareness.”

On support from the industry and kidney failure being more common than we think

“When I first got sick, you know everybody reached out to me. Everybody—you name them, they reached out to me. Just to make sure I’m good. You’d be surprised, it’s so many people that’s going through what I’m going through and they’re not public with it. A few people in the industry that I know is like ‘Yo I’m on dialysis right now but you know, I never said nothing to anybody.’ So, you’d be surprised how many people are going through what I’m going through—even if it’s not them immediately, it’s someone in their family. It’s something that affects so many Americans.”

On his current album, upcoming doc, and what to expect from him in the near future

“Well, I just dropped a new album Think Free. We just dropped the album like two weeks ago. I’m back with Roc Nation so that’s a great thing. The album is incredible, everyone is loving the album, I’m getting a great response…we’re getting ready to go on tour in September, so you know things are looking good. I got a documentary entitled Think Free that we’re going to be dropping real soon and it covers my fight with kidney failure from when it first happened to present day. It’s real informative for the people so I think the people are really gonna get a good message from it.”

On Black men and their health

“Black men in general, we don’t want to go to the hospital. We don’t want to go to the doctor. Something wrong with us, we think we can fix it. We think we can go to sleep and wake up and you’ll be better. With an ailment like kidney failure, you might actually feel better tomorrow and think nothing is wrong. It’s like a silent killer, you know? Like I said, I had little signs and symptoms and you see how long it took me to go to the hospital. I’m like ‘Awww, I just did four shows. That’s why I’m so tired!’…you know, that wasn’t the case. As Black men, we definitely need to make sure we keep up with our routine physicals and get blood work done, at least once a year ’cause it could be the difference between life and death. If you got a nice car, you gon’ change your oil and get your engine checked and all that, so you got to do the same thing with your body.”

On his wait for a kidney transplant

“I’m good. I’m strong. We’re moving forward. Like I said, everything is looking good. I actually got a call for a kidney probably like a week and a half ago—it didn’t work out but I’m starting to get the calls so hopefully it’ll be soon…like, sometime this year.”

~ @KingSukii  

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