Legendary Brownsville, Brooklyn emcee Masta Ace has been living with Multiple Sclerosis since 1999, officially diagnosed in 2000. Now, for the first time, the “Born To Roll” rapper speaks on having MS.

During a recent interview with HHDX, Masta Ace opens up about having Multiple Sclerosis.

Ace revealed he began having issues in 1999, issues such as during hot showers he would sometimes get the sensation that his left arm and part of his neck would go asleep. Later that year, he temporarily lost the vision in his left eye. He says it was as if someone had taken a photo and the flash had temporarily blinded him. But the loss of vision lasted for for a month before returning. Then during the summer of 2000, Ace says both of his feet felt as if they had fallen asleep, and it lasted for about a week.

Ace tells DX, that he didn’t put everything together, but knew something was wrong:

“I knew something was going on, but I didn’t know what. You start thinking the worst kind of stuff ‘cause it’s weird, like, ‘What the hell is going on?’ I didn’t know that the two things were connected, but I just knew that weird stuff was happening and I needed to find out why.”

Following his concerns that something was wrong, Ace went to the doctor, who ran multiple tests, including a spinal tap, and the diagnosis came back as Multiple Sclerosis.

After he received the diagnosis, Ace says he didn’t want to tell anyone, because he didn’t want any pity:

“I wasn’t really ready for people to be hitting me with the, ‘Ah, that’s terrible… I didn’t want anybody to feel sorry for me. I wasn’t feeling sorry for myself. I didn’t want the pity. I didn’t want any of that. I basically took it as a setback and a sign that it was time to reenergize and just really, really go in.”

Now, over a decade after being diagnosed with MS, Masta Ace says that he feels comfortable speaking on it for numerous reasons:

“Once I had felt like people had accepted me musically and lyrically as an artist, then I knew if I was ready to reveal it, that I wasn’t going to feel like, ‘Are people just showing me love ‘cause they heard about my diagnosis and it’s not even real?.’ I wanted it to be real and I felt like it was real and genuine. I felt like I had accomplished what I wanted to do. That, and I was tired of hiding from it. It’s part of who I am. Me and my wife talked about it and she was like, whenever you feel like you’re ready.’ She’s been a huge, huge support system for me going through a lot of that stuff.”

He adds:

“A lot of people, they get a diagnosis and you can go in the tank. You can kind of just get depressed and start the, ‘Woe is me’ and all of that, but I took the diagnosis and really, really ran with it, did the best album of my career. I’ve been touring 12 years-plus, feeling strong, being energetic. When I perform, I give a lot of energy. I always have, but even more so since the diagnosis. I jump around and use the stage. All of that is because I don’t know what down the road I’m going to be able to do physically. If I can jump around now, I’m going to jump around.

He continued:

“My hope in making my diagnosis known is that other people out there going through something similar, maybe not MS but some other health challenge, might be inspired, motivated or encouraged in some way to live their lives to the fullest. I think my revealing this may help somebody out there. At least that’s my hope.”

Head over to HHDX for Masta Ace’s complete interview.