On May 4, 2021, actor, rapper, and producer Will Smith announced the launch of a new six-part YouTube mini-series called “Best Shape of My Life” on his Instagram page. The series will feature Smith improving his physique to “feel better” after enduring the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic via “countless…grazing thru [sic] the pantry.” However, he won’t be taking on this fitness journey alone.
Smith sparked the #bigwilliechallenge, calling on followers who mimicked his initial announcement pose to post pics of their physiques after 12 weeks of training. Andre Romelle Young, aka rapper and record producer Dr. Dre, announced via a front-facing, lifted-shirt, ab pic on his Instagram page that he would be “Going in with Will Smith.”
Smith was in his comments praising the 56-year-old’s current physique as inspirational for others saying, “Damn! Your covid body is the rest of our best shape, Dre!” Check out what Dr. Dre’s 5.6 million Instagram followers got to see and what is presumably Dr. Dre’s “before” photo on his fitness journey:
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Nuthin But A G(ym) Thang
Even though Smith’s series announcement seems to be what started the fire, several other rappers and actors who’ve recently touted the powers of strength training may have been the kindling. Wu-Tang Clan member Clifford Smith Jr., aka Method Man, is on tape deadlifting a 215.5-kilogram (475-pound) personal record. Rapper Ariyan Arslani, aka Action Bronson, has lost over a hundred pounds training strongman. Actor Ethan Suplee has lost over half of his previous 550 pounds of body weight. Actor and comedian Kumail Nanjiani got jacked for a Marvel movie. Even Mark Wahlberg trains at 2 a.m. each morning, albeit he is now in a bulking phase for a new movie role.
If you scroll through Dr. Dre’s comments on his post, you’ll find that Smith wasn’t the only notable name praising Dr. Dre’s physique. Motivational speaker Nino Brown echoed Smith’s sentiment, applauded the middle-aged Dr. Dre for having well-defined abs. His shredded core was acquired about a decade ago during a fitness transformation that Dre revealed in his music video for the single “I Need A Doctor” featuring Eminem and Skylar Green, where Dr. Dre is seen performing weighted dips, GHD sit-ups, pull-ups, and cable flyes.
As with the hip-hop genre, many fellow rappers — which Dr. Dre has produced — seem to be following the Death Row Records founder’s lead. Calvin Cordozar Broadus Jr., aka Snoop Dogg, was in Dr. Dre’s comments to say he’ll get a head start on his fitness:
I’ll be in the gym before u get there doc.
Rapper Alvin Nathaniel Joiner aka Xzibit joined the fitness crew stating, “I’m in.” Christopher Edward Martin, aka DJ Premier, chimed in, “Let’s all get it together!” Actor Terry Crews, who knows a thing or two about getting in shape, spammed a bunch of fire emojis. WWE Superstar Sesugh Uhaa, known in-ring as Apollo Crews — whose physique is a marvel of rounded shoulders and huge pecs — also tossed some flexing emojis in the comment to show support. Even former Mr. Olympia Dexter “The Blade” Jackson showered praise, “Looking amazing big homie!”
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Dr. Dre is the co-founder and former president of record label Death Row Records. He also founded and runs the record label Aftermath Entertainment and audio equipment manufacturer Beats Electronics — the latter sold to Apple for three billion dollars in 2014. The road to that billion-dollar deal started in the early nineties when Dr. Dre’s debut album The Chronic was released. He would finish out that decade as a member of the rap group N.W.A.
Although none of those celebrities in Dr. Dre’s comments have officially joined Smith for his mini-series, six episodes is a lot of time to spend in the gym without some additional star power and a bumpin’ playlist. It isn’t entirely clear if “Best Shape of My Life” will feature any of these famous rappers training alongside Smith. Let’s hope that when the series premieres, they don’t act like they forgot about Dre.
Feature image: @drdre on Instagram