July 9 '98
Here in the Bay Area the club scene has been suffering badly. About a month ago, word began to spread that some crazed person was going around pricking people with HIV/AIDS tainted needles. Club goers were finding stickers on their bodies saying 'Welcome To The World Of AIDS' . Thus far no official cases have been reported to support these incidents. However, the stories have scared folks to the point they are staying away in record numbers. One popular night club went from having regular crowds of 1500+ to a dismal 200..In some cases clubs have actually closed down.In a couple of incidents..acts have cancelled performances. To be honest it was actually surprising to see a packed house for Cam'ron's recent performance.. Right now there's speculation that these nasty rumors were started by rival club owners.
In any case, the AIDS needle scare will likely go down in the history books as yet another urban rumor that has impacted the hip hop community. Folks may recall a few years ago, the rumors that haunted rap star Big Daddy Kane. He was supposedly went on the Oprah Winfrey show and tearfully confessed to contacting AIDS. Everyone supposedly had a cousin or friend who saw the show in which he broke down. It never happened.
Another Oprah related rfumor story involved fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger. He supposedly went on the show and claimed he didn't like Black people. Lots of stories and editorials came out on this topic. This of course never happened.The hip hop clothing company-Troop was run about business when nasty rumors began circulating about the company that once dressed artists like MC Hammer, LL Cool J and numerous others. The story was that Troop was owned by the Ku Klux Klan. All sorts of prominent' community leaders brought into this rumor as they encouraged folks to get rid of their Troop outfits. So dire was Troop's position that they even approached Public Enemy's Chuck D about being a spokes person. The belief was Chuck D who was at that time hip hop's most visible figure could convince the African American community to not abandon Troop. Chuck declined the offer and soon afterwards Troop went away..a victim to business terrorism. The speculation was a rival sporting/hip hop company spread the nasty Klan rumors.
Here in the Bay Area, rap star Too Short suffered at the hands of the urban rumor mill. On more then one occasion, Bay Area fans woke up to the heart wrenching news that Too Short had been shot the night before. In one of his songs 'I Ain't Trippin', he raps about all the falsehoods surrounding him. The speculation was it was jealous player haters.
On a national level, actor/comedian Chris Tucker suffered from rumors which stated that he had mysteriously died.. Some of the stories said he was killed. Others said he was sick... Chris is alive and well and about to star in a movie with martial arts expert Jackie Chan.
Over the last couple of years there's been a lot of rumors circulating about which hip hop artists are gay. Much of the fascination regarding this topic came at the hands of former Hot 97 dj Wendy Williams who is legendary for his incinderary gossip. A NY based publication called One Nut helped take this gays within hip hop story to another level with a series of stories in which the mysterious 'gay rapper' was interviewed.
Thanks to Ms. Williams and others, hip hop headz have speculated that hip hop's gay artists are LL Cool J, Puffy & Mase, Queen Latifah, MC Lyte, Erick Sermon and the Fresh Prince. For a while, seemingly everyone had some sort of story and definitive proof about who was gay and who wasn't within hip hop. Proof ranged from people actually witnessing these artists in 'the act' to people having gay friends 'who knew'. To this day none of these artists have come out and supported these claims.. But again the hip hop rumor mill left everyone buzzing for quite some time...
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