Brooklyn-born and Staten Island-raised, U-God is so New York. As a member of legendary Hip Hop group Wu-Tang Clan, U-God has traveled the world and lived the high life, but he finds the most comfort at home with his family and friends. Now on the verge of releasing the new Wu album A Better Tomorrow on December 2nd, the charismatic lyricist is looking forward to a relaxing Thanksgiving holiday before the mayhem of album release week.
While he’s been known for causing a ruckus, who knew he did some of his best work tearing it up in the kitchen? In this UrbLife.com exclusive, U-God shares his passion for cooking and how health has affected his diet, as well as his thoughts on family, fame and freedom.
We hear you like to cook… What are your favorite types of dishes to cook?
Probably BBQ chicken, lamb, turkey lasagna, my spaghetti. Sometimes I make a mean Cornish hen, I chop up the tomatoes and the peppers and the seasons, it’s just an assortment. Whatever you like I can basically make.
Do you have any diet restrictions?
U-God: Nah. I took a physical about three weeks ago I found out my cholesterol was kind of high, and that was from eating red meat so I chilled for a minute. I just don’t eat pork. I eat everything else except that. Bacon I’m not into it. Vegetarian, I’m not yet at least; I might go into that in my old age though.
Are you going to do something traditional with your Thanksgiving dinner?
U-God: Me and my moms been doing this for years. We were raised on doing Thanksgiving dinners. My mother’s favorite dish is the potato salad – I love the potato salad. It’s an assortment of things.
Do you cook the bird yourself or does she do that?
U-God: No she does the bird. I don’t do the stuffing thing. I sit back and watch. I let my mom really do her thing for Thanksgiving, that’s really her thing.
If you had to step in and cook one thing, what would it be?
U-God: If I had to step in and cook one thing it would probably be the collard greens, smoked turkey necks or something. I’d probably boil that down and put my spices on that. Get the smoke turkey, put it in a pot, let it [simmer]for about 20 to 30 minutes. After it boils, just leave the top on for a while.
What’s your favorite thing to do with Thanksgiving leftovers?
U-God: We eat those the next day after. The day after for some reason the seasons seem to just drip in the food. It’s always better the second day.
So, you’ve been in the music industry most of your life at this point…
U-God: I’ve been doing my thing since I was a kid, getting money in the streets. Before this, I was incarcerated. Dudes rappers talk about in rhymes, that want to be the bad guy, I’m that dude. I’m a convicted felon, and I changed my life around. At a young age, I just wanted to make a living, and Wu-Tang has been my living for the last 20 years.
Now, some people don’t understand that. I made a good living doing what I do, I’m content with that. If I walk beside [Method Man], people stop him in the streets, he can’t live. I teeter between that, I don’t want that. Fame is a real slippery slope, because once you become that, you lose your freedom. I’ve lost my freedom before, and when you lose your freedom, you have no control over your life whatsoever. Soon as you come out of the house, you’re done.
I think about that every time I’m in front of the camera; “Do I want that? Do I want that level of success?” I could get it if I wanted to try hard enough to get it, but do I want that? I’d rather have the money than the fame. I still walk around Brownsville and people look at me puzzled, and I’m cool with that.
Do you feel at this stage in your life that you’re ready to step up a bit more?
U-God: I have a book coming about my life story and it’s incredible. It tells you about my childhood and how I became part of Wu-Tang. How I met Rae and Power and Meth and RZA and all the rest of my brothers.
How do you talk to your children about the temptations that they have in these times?
U-God: One of my sons got shot when he was two-years-old. My kids know to stay away from that. My first son has been through enough pain where he knows better. Ever since he was two-years-old, he’s been in and out of the hospital. He’s on the right path and his younger brother follows him, so he has a good role model besides me.
My second youngest son is going away to military school. He’s gone, and we don’t have any time for that. For his last bit of schooling, I want him to get his discipline right. I always believed that the people that you’re around create the levels the focus of what you are going to become. If you are around a bunch of hooligans, that’s who you are going to become. That’s going to be your demise, and I realized that. My boys ain’t really in the hood like that. They are totally different.
What do you want people to know about you now with this new Wu-Tang album? What do you want them to understand about where you’re at?
U-God: I’m a grown ass man. I don’t have anything to prove. I do this for fun. I ain’t playing with motherfuckas. My new shit is Gandhi. I got a Martin Luther King to a lot of stupidity. MF’ers will have you locked up for dumb shit.
Follow U-God on Twitter @UGodofWuTang