Photo credit: ShoShots
For anyone not familiar with hip-hop culture, the term “rap beef” usually has nothing to do with actual beef. Instead, it refers to a rivalry between rappers, typically resolved with a battle of wits and lyrics. But hip-hop is a genre full of double entendre, and one innovative social entrepreneur has found the way to make “rap beef” literal. Yo Stay Hungry, “the culinary food competition bridging food, beverage, and hip-hop,” is the brainchild of Syreeta Gates, a lifelong hip-hop enthusiast and foodie.
The premise is simple: youth are paired with professional chef mentors who support them as they prepare meals quoted in rap lyrics. The menu has included “T-bone steak, cheese eggs, and Welch’s grape” and “macaroni with cheese…spaghetti, fettucine, and veal,”—quotes from famed New York rapper Notorious B.I.G.’s “Big Poppa” and “All About the Benjamins” respectively. Attendees get their fill of curated music, exciting kitchen showdowns, and delicious food.
Since Gates founded Yo Stay Hungry in 2015, they’ve hosted more than 8 competitions, served more than 3,500 attendees, featured more than 60 judges from the music and culinary arts industries, and awarded two competitors with the “Chef Curry with the Pot” scholarship—an award named in memory of one of Gates’ late friends, Terrell Curry and a clever reference to a Drake lyric.
While her business is just four years old, Gates has been combining food and entrepreneurship since her days of selling popcorn and baked goods to her elementary and high school classmates. It made