How diabetes and a classic hip-hop group inspired his latest career move
Classic hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest is responsible for several beloved and influential albums, anthems ranging from "Can I Kick It" to "Scenario," and, most recently, Lil Jon's return to "Celebrity Apprentice."
The 41-year-old, self-described "purveyor of krunk" said he elected to return for another season to Donald Trump's reality competition in part because his mother and Tribe rapper Phife were battling diabetes. Jon (pictured) decided to use his latest turn on the show to raise awareness of the disease, he said at the Television Critics Association winter press tour Sunday.
"I said on the finale, I’m like, 'Hell, no, I’m not coming back,''" he recalled. "And then while I was thinking about it, my mother had a stroke, and my mother has had diabetes, like, all her life, but I thought her diabetes was in remission. … So it made me say, “You know what? Maybe I should go back to help bring awareness for friends and family of people with diabetes.”
What clinched the decision was watching Michael Rappaport's Tribe Called Quest documentary, "Beats, Rhymes & Life."
"And then I also saw a documentary with Tribe Called Quest, and in the documentary one of the guys in the group, Phife, he has diabetes, and, you know, I’m a fan of Tribe Called Quest. I know Phife, and his struggle was he wasn’t taking care of himself while they were doing their thing in hip hop," Jon said. "He lost a kidney, and his wife had to give him one of her kidneys. So those two things touched me, and it made me say, 'You know what? I can come back and compete and help bring awareness for this disease.'"
"Celebrity Apprentice," which also features Gary Busey, Bret Michaels, and other "Apprentice" all-stars, returns to NBC on Sunday, March 3.