EarthGang Is Representing Mother Earth Through Hip-Hop
EARTHGANG. PHOTO BY SHAMAAL
EARTHGANG (@earthgang), comprised of high school friends Olu and WowGr8, continue to intertwine their hometown magic within their music (see this year’s Ghetto Gods album that focuses on community) to their dedication to social activism and trying to make their carbon footprint as small as possible. Here, the Atlanta-born, Grammy-nominated rap duo discuss the benefits of living in harmony with the world.
Ghetto Gods showcases another side of wellness: the idea of just believing in something.
WowGr8: I believe wellness can take many forms. It can be more than just taking a bubble bath, or it’s exactly that for some people. I don’t think it’s on any of us to define wellness as one concept besides anything other than what makes you well and what makes you feel better. I think serving other people and serving your community are great wellness [practices] because it feels good for the spirit. It feels good to help others and to see the impact of your service long-term.
EARTHGANG. PHOTO BY SHAMAAL
What are both of your self-care practices?
WowGr8: I like finding new places to take long walks or runs. I’ll call my mom and talk to her for a long-ass time. Certain relationships can definitely feel like a wellness break too, where they make you feel like you might not need a therapist. Shoot, smoking some weed, playing video games, hitting up some girls and seeing what they’re on. [laughs] That’s all wellness!
Olu: I love going to bodies of water: oceans, lakes, rivers. It makes me calm. I don’t sleep with any electronics in my room. I don’t really know the science behind it, but it helps me sleep better. Oh, silence and just shutting the f--k up! [laughs] That’s a great remedy for being in the present moment. Especially before shows where there’s so much going on and so many people wanting to get some of your energy. We got a lot of friends from across the world and they [tell us], ‘In our country, our government prioritizes holidays.’ But over here [in America], everybody just works themselves into the ground. Being able to rest is seen as a weakness sometimes. But resting is like a superpower. If you take the time to recharge, when you come back you have better ideas and better energy. I also love massages. Take me to the spa any day of the week and you’ve got me. Whatever you want, it’s yours.
The duo performed the Ghetto Gods single “Lie to Me” on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on March 8, 2022. PHOTO BY RYAN MUIR/NBC/NBCU PHOTO BANK VIA GETT Y IMAGES
What else can we do to try to save this planet?
Olu: We need to show more love and give more assistance to farmers. They need to be more lauded in our culture because we can’t do anything without them. Farmers and the whole agricultural industry are always in demand, yet they take a hit on what they can and can’t grow and also from climate change.
Can you talk about the importance of putting yourself first?
WowGr8: That’s a big wellness thing for sure. I had to learn that myself, and it was really hard for me. I always grew up being told who to take care of, since I’m the oldest of my mom’s children. Up until two years ago, I’ve always been very team-centric. Right now, I’ve realized it doesn’t necessarily matter. At the end of the day, you still have to love yourself. If you don’t love yourself the most, and the first, then what’s happening? I come second to myself only after my son, but that’s an exception. I know a lot of relationships during the pandemic got cut off naturally. I thought I was doing all this extending myself for the betterment of the friendship, only for it to mean pretty much paper.
Olu: The pandemic was the most time that I’ve spent with myself. I did whatever I wanted to do. Putting yourself first and prioritizing rest [is important]. Understanding that you don’t have to run yourself down trying to do everything for other people—they’ll get around to it. You don’t have to be the one to do everything. Some of us really are workaholics and love being involved in our work and our passions. But we should have that same energy to be passionate about being happy. Not always achieving things for people but actually doing something for ourselves.