When Young Boss steps into a room, you realize his
style and energy epitomizes the swagga of a super star. Born David Petterson,
this 25-year-old New Jersey-born rapper has been grinding his way into the
music game for nearly five years.
After attending college in Atlanta and building a buzz for himself as an MC, he chose to move back home to start from scratch. Now he’s got a new deal with Miami club-favorite Pitbull, and things look good on the music front.Comfortable in his skin, Boss embraces his fat boy
fresh image. His style mimics an eclectic blend of Hip-Hop, pop and rock.
But behind the boisterous laugh and smile lies a
young man fighting an ongoing battle with kidney disease.
For those of you who do not know the function of your kidneys, here is a brief
overview. There are two kidneys located on both sides of the spine at the
lowest level of the rib cage. Kidneys remove waste products and excess fluid
from the body through the urine. They also remove drugs, balance the body’s
fluids, release hormones that regulate blood pressure, produce an active form
of Vitamin D that promotes strong, healthy bones and control the production of
red blood cells.
As of April 18, 2008 there were 80,051 people on the United States waiting
list for a kidney. The median waiting time in 1999 to 2000 for a person Young
Boss age (18-34) was 1557 days. The last survey taken in 2003 to 2004 found
that the waiting period had risen to 1782 days. During that same time, it was
found that only 20.5% of Black people who were waiting for two years prior to
being put on the list had a kidney transplant.
I spoke to Dr. Whitfield, Tha Hip-Hop Doc, who advised that two common
symptoms included fatigue and protein in the urine. After my discussion with him,
I felt confident and ready to engage in a health conversation on kidney
Young Boss then sat down with me to give us an idea
of what his life is like competing with this disorder.
AllHipHop.com: Can you tell me about this disease
and when were you diagnosed?
Young Boss: The disease I have is Focal
Glomerulosclerosis, FSGS for short. I was diagnosed with it first believe it or
not in 10th grade of high school, I used to play football and I
remember I didnt play that year. So I got hit with this kidney problem, but it
wasnt as full blown as it is now. In January of 06 I was put into the
hospital for it, and then on March 16th of 07 it went into full
kidney failure. My first day of dialysis was on the 17th.
AllHipHop.com: What were some of your symptoms?
Young Boss: Swelling in the legs, in the hands and
in the face, from the fluid not being kicked out by the kidneys. No energy, I
would be at my sisters house laying on the couch talking to her and then I
would just fall asleep. Bleeding from the nose, just a whole bunch of random
stuff that you would never think, you know.
AllHipHop.com: How exactly are you being treated? Can
you explain [what dialysis is]?
Young Boss: Well actually its just a machine
called the dialyzer, and there is a tube-like thing that they connect which basically
plays as my kidney. So basically its like getting your blood washed, getting
rid of all the impurities and just receiving cleanliness. It limits your fluid
intake, your only allowed to drink I think about 60 ounces a day. Its worse in
the summer time because you know its hot and we can drink as much.
AllHipHop.com: Are you on any medications?
Young Boss: Yeah, I take 13 pills a day. For
example, I take pills for to limit my phosphorus, pills for energy. Im going
to need my energy and its kind of hard to have a lot of energy when you rip
and run as much as we do in the industry.
AllHipHop.com: Is there any history of this kidney
disease in your family?
Young Boss: Im the first one in my family, my
aunt died from a liver problem but no one ever had a kidney problem. So its
not like hereditary – my mother dont have nothing, my father everyone is
healthy. So its just happened to be me.
AllHipHop.com: Now, is there anything in your life
that you could have been doing differently that may have prevented this?
Young Boss: Been skinny probably. [laughs] Nah, size
and when your young you just eat. You dont really watch what you eat, youre
just out there. I was good in high school because of football, so I was alright
and it wasnt as bad as it is now. But of course you get older you start doing
less, you start driving instead of walking, so I just gained weight – but I
think it could happen to anyone. It just kind of happened to me. Im still
young and I was told that I only had a year if I didnt get dialysis or a
AllHipHop.com: What was it like being told that
you could have one year to live?
Young Boss: I dont know, man. Thats when I wrote
this song Suicide Ride puts it all into a nut shell. At the same time it was
like, Aight what can I do to make this better? I kind of want to shock the
world [and] still be who I am at the same time. And it kind of made me a better
person at the same time too, to know not to take certain things for granted. At
the end of the day its a positive reaction.
AllHipHop.com: So what are you doing different? Are
you eating different or exercising?
Young Boss: I still eat, but I do it differently,
I dont eat as much as I used too. Before my mom would cook and I would eat two,
three, four plates, but now I just eat a plate or sometimes I dont eat at all.
But now I eat differently, what I eat, the amount of what I eat, and I eat more
meals, [smaller] portions.
I was working out for a minute, but I had another
surgery that stopped me from using my arms because they are going to start
doing my dialysis through my arm instead of my chest. When they can take out
the tube in my chest I can get back to things that I love, like swimming and taking
a regular shower. Sitting under the shower, I havent done that in a year and a
AllHipHop.com: Is it difficult living with this
disease especially when youre bouncing from the club, to the studio, youre
all over the place? Do you feel that you might be beating yourself up a little too
Young Boss: Its difficult, to the point where
sometimes I get out of dialysis Im on there for five hours a day Sometimes
Ill make a schedule and try to be at the studio on my dialysis days and you
can tell the difference in my recording, I sound tired.
AllHipHop.com: So what do your doctors say about
Young Boss: They think Im crazy; I get in trouble
a lot because I come in and Im exhausted. Sometimes you can tell when youre
extra exhausted because your pressure is kind of funny; its a lot of
complications in your blood count.
Sometimes I do push myself a little to hard
because Ill feel it. The other night, for instance, I was supposed to be at
the club for 1:30AM. I fell asleep and I didnt wake up until everyone was
knocking on my door at 12:45. My body shuts itself down sometimes.
AllHipHop.com: Are you on a waiting list for a
Young Boss: After I drop 30 to 40 more pounds,
then I can get on the waiting list because I dont meet the numbers. Your body
has to match a certain number, so it has to do with your weight and your body
levels, your blood count. Its so much your life is on a piece of paper when it
comes to this.
Hopefully when I get my kidney, my brother Dwayne
and I match blood types. If all his numbers are right, I can get his kidney.
When I got sick, he was ready to take it out [smiles] – thats my homeboy for
AllHipHop.com: Does this ultimately make you work
Young Boss: Yeah, because not to be funny – I
dont know how much time I got. And its like; I go as hard as I can because
theres a possibility that if this turns for the worst Im not going to be able
to do this at all. So I feel like I only have this one shot to do it, I love
music to much to stop.
AllHipHop.com: What advice would you give to young
people, in regards to staying healthy?
Young Boss: Always check your blood pressure, eat
right, drink water, stay active do a sport and run around.
AllHipHop.com: Ive been following you for quite
sometime now and you definitely have an impressive resumé especially since you
are not a signed artist. Can you let us know how that whole situation came
about with you being featured on Pitbulls hit single “Go Girl”?
Young Boss: I did the record in Atlanta in
November of 06 with producer Sounds who just did the remix of Ushers Love In This
Club featuring Beyoncé and Lil Wayne. Shout out to my homeboy Sounds, hes
been working hard. He was my first producer who actually made beats for me as
an artist, and we still work together. He just had this vision of this new
sound so he called me up and said, I think that youre the only one who could
do this, go left field and not be scared to do it.
After I laid the track, I eventually brought it
back to Jersey and I gave it to DJ 10 Supreme who was the first DJ to spin it
at Club Abyss. And it started going from there, DJs started picking it up. DJ
Danny S from Washington Heights put it on a mixtape that made its way all the
way down to Miami. He happened to be cool with Pitbull, and the story was Pit
heard it and was like, Who is this? I need to get in with this. He contacted
Danny S, we got together and he wanted the record for his album and here we go.
Me and Pit met a couple times got real cool, then
he put up a proposal wanting to sign me to his production company. So I signed
two weeks ago, and now Im Mr. 305 INC pushing for a major deal pretty soon. Its
been a grind though.
“Go Girl” Pitbull f/ Trina & Young Boss
AllHipHop.com: So what else are you working on
Young Boss: Well were working on a deal right now,
we got a couple offers on the table from a couple companies. We are just trying
to work the record Shooting Star my new single produced by my man Ayb its
doing real good. Pitbull is on tour right now, Ive been on a few tour dates
with him, so Im just trying to get my face out there.
Im trying to get with all the DJs. I was just
with Kast One the other night, shout out to him he did my first mixtape with me
out here. So right now its just pushing Xequtive Board Music Group the company
Im managed by, Shooting Star the record, Young Boss as an artist and just promotion.
Im working on recording an album which
might be named The World Music District.
Its already copyrighted so yall cant steal that.
AllHipHop.com: So youre living with this kidney
disease [and] youre an aspiring artist. What is your overall motivation in
life, and what will continue to motivate you?
Young Boss: I would have to say my family – my
mother and my core friends. They constantly encourage me. My mother, shes like
the strongest woman, shes a big encouragement and my biggest fan. So her, my
brother and everybody always just pushing me and they are kind of amazed when I
do stuff. They want me to slow down, but at the same time they know if I do
there is something wrong with me. Its about my family and getting them into a
better situation, the world as a whole is crazy.
Im just trying to create music that will take your
mind away and you can just zone out, make you feel good. Im gonna take you
every which way, touch every part. Its so much negative stuff going on that you
just want to break out of that and with music its the easiest way to me. I
could just talk about good stuff and make you feel better and at the same time
reach millions. The same way that another dude could press the button to go to
war, you could press the play button on my CD to go somewhere else.