IN THE EARLY 2010s, Florida rapper Tariq Cherif was fed up with the lack of local hip-hop shows. So he and his childhood friend Matt Zingler cofounded Rolling Loud, a one-day Miami event that’s now the world’s largest hip-hop festival; Kendrick Lamar, Kid Cudi, and Nicki Minaj have all headlined. Here’s what Cherif does behind the scenes to keep going.
Drink in the Sun and Salt
You can find Cherif, 33, walking around the backyard in his boxers with half a liter of water in hand.“I make sure to get sunlight, water, and a half teaspoon of salt first thing in the morning,” to set up his energy and hydration levels for the day.
“Producing large-scale events creates a lot of anxiety.” Despite contemporary challenges— social-media hype, online ticket releases—Cherif copes by using old-school written to-do lists. “It sounds cliché, but the stress starts to slip away as soon as I start checking off some of the tasks and momentum takes over,” he says.
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Break for Team Lunch
“We run our business like a family,” Cherif says. The 17-person staff in Rolling Loud’s Miami office eats lunch together practically every day; cracking jokes and sharing stories helps build a great rapport and real friendships.“It makes us a stronger unit,” he says.
Hit the Half-Pipe
“I don’t drink any caffeine, so I don’t have the mid-afternoon crash a lot of people have.” When he happens to get draggy: “Motion is the best way to wake myself back up.” There’s a half-pipe conveniently placed behind the Miami office, and he breaks out the board as a pick-me-up.
Look for the Greatness
If a day’s work starts piling up and feeling dire, Cherif says, his internal dialogue is quick to include comments like “You’re such an idiot.” When he catches himself doing it, he gives himself some grace. “I’ve been working on not beating myself up when things don’t measure up and instead patting myself on the back for the work Idid get done, knowing that tomorrow is another day to be great.”
Unplug and Play
End-of-the-day family time is nonnegotiable. Cherif leaves the office and hits the gym before picking up his 12-year-old son from soccer. At home, the phone goes on Do Not Disturb, then Cherif and his family have dinner and play a game or watch a TV show together.
Let Sleep Take Over
Cherif has been meditating every day for more than 1,000 days. (“Check my Calm app streak.”) Sometimes it’s before bed for ten to 15 minutes; other times it’s in the morning or between meetings. “No matter how long I do it, as long as I do it, I’m staying consistent and working on my ability to focus and drown out all the noise,” he says. Later in the evening, he often falls asleep with the TV on.“I can usually make it through about 30 minutes before I’m knocked out.”
A version of this article originally appeared in the July/August 2023 issue of Men’s Health.
Cori Ritchey, NASM-CPT is an Associate Health & Fitness Editor at Men’s Health and a certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor. You can find more of her work in HealthCentral, Livestrong, Self, and others.