Earlier this week, Houston rapper Propain signed a deal with No Limit Records. Cool, except that he really didn't.
See, and you likely didn't notice this because it's such a subversive part of the culture, but the environs of rap, themselves tedious and occasionally barbaric, are prime grounds for rumor mongering (rumongering, perhaps?). They pop up ad nauseum.
You say you don't like Rapper X? No sweat. Chop his knees a bit and tell people that he doesn't support the troops or that he used to be a police informant or that he's gay or whatevs. Doesn't matter. Pick what you want. If you say it, it'll get out there. Speak it into existence, just like Jesus said.
Side Note: If you plan on spreading rumors, know that there is a definite correlation between how famous a rapper is and how outrageous a rumor has to be before it gets legs. A superstar rapper requires only a modicum of peculiarity to be attached to his or her name before it rolls itself up into a perfectly efficient scandal.
And lots of time, that shit doesn't even have to be connected through any sort of logic or linearity; it just grows into something awful and nasty and uncontrollable all on its own, willful and originless, like goddamn Nick Cannon**. Mention on Twitter about how when you went to L.A. you think you saw Lil Wayne at Randall's buying chunky peanut butter, and it's not entirely unlikely that you'll read a headline on Media Takeout two hours later like, "Lil Wayne Rumored To Buy Chunky Peanut Butter, Planning Sex Party For Underage Nazi Enthusiasts."
A local guy though, that rumor would have to be fairly substantial for it to rate outside of Houston. He'd have to have been said to have been caught trying to jerk off truckers at a rest stop on I-10, and even then the headline would still read, "Houston Rapper Rumored To Masturbate Truckers, Planning Sex Party For Underage Nazi Enthusiasts."
Side Note, Side Note: Nick Cannon ain't so bad.
At any rate, Propain fake signed with No Limit Records and the appropriate people propagated the idea. He eventually, and rather diplomatically, dismissed the notion. But a topic of conversation sprung up from the fray: What other Houston rap rumors have there been?
Naturally, there have been a ton.
Remember when Z-Ro was murdered? Yep. That was fun. All 17 times it's happened. Those ones always sound wrong when they come - how does one murder the boogeyman? - but the last time, back in 2009, we bothered to call Rap-A-Lot and check to be certain. It was a short conversation, basically like:
Rap-A-Lot: Hello? Us: Hey, uh, this is Shea with the Press. Rap-A-Lot: He's not dead [click].
Fuckin' Rap-A-Lot, bro. That was probably their best customer service guy.
Oh, remember when Scarface died? And that time Trae died (shot at Trae Day)? And that time Paul Wall died (shot at a nightclub)? And that time Chamillionaire died (confirmed via the always reliable MySpace Bulletin)? Was that before or after he went broke? It's hard to keep track.
Shit, you could make some up right now if you really feel like it. Add to the lore a bit. Did you know that ESG was struck by lightning as a kid? Yep. It electrifried his brain matter or something, and now his synapses fire faster than normal, that's why he's able to freestyle so well. True story.
Point being: There are a billion rumors. They come and go, floating in and out of circulation as they please. We'd planned to recount the ten or so best, but really, after a certain point, they're all just about the same. There are only two that will likely reverberate in town for the rest of time:
J. Prince Saves Pimp C's Life (Or Nearly Murders Him; It's One of Those)
The Details: Following a discrepancy about how much money Pimp was to be paid for UGK's work on the "Break 'Em Off Somethin'" single they did with Master P, Pimp let loose all sorts of foul things about No Limit Records' king piece. Master P, pre-Nickelodeon days, was livid.
He kidnapped Pimp, took him to a motel, pistol whipped him, then called J. Prince and asked for permission to kill him. Prince said no, saying that retaliation would be swift, merciless and exponential, and that was that. There are all sorts of variations of this story (one was that J. Prince had ordered P to kidnap Pimp), but none of it has ever been confirmed by anybody with proper knowledge of the situation.
Why, Fundamentally, It's An Excellent Rumor: Pimp C's name came up in plenty of rumors; it's a byproduct of being as obstinately confident and charismatic as he was. It's also why so many people believe things said about him. If we started telling people that in 1998, Bun B called a woman that worked in Macy's a triflin'-ass hoe because she spritzed him with cologne as he walked by, it would die out as soon as we finished saying it.
This, though, this is completely within the realm of possibility. Could Master P have hustled Pimp C out of money? Sure. Would Pimp C have said things about it? Sure. Did Master P have the gumption to assemble a team of goons and kidnap Pimp? Sure. Would J. Prince have had the sway to prevent the murder? Sure.
Nothing sounds immediately wrong, and it plays towards ideas people already have about the characters involved. People love stereotypes.
Side Note: We once tried to convince people that Pimp C had discovered one of the missing elements on the Periodic Table of Elements. They were going to call it Trillonium. False, sure, but would that not have been the illest group of subatomic particles of all time?
A Prominent Houston Rapper Has AIDS
The Details: Holy crap, remember this one? This was/is probably the biggest Houston Rap Rumor ever assembled. It started in 2006. Allegedly, a bedfellow of one of Houston's better-known rappers found AIDS medication in his sock drawer and asked him about it. He denied the charge, even though the pills she found were said to have had his name on the bottles.
She got an HIV test, it came back positive, so she sued (or was planning to sue) him. Countless websites tried to deduce who was the guilty party with various bits of "evidence" that were less like evidence and more like horseshit: "Well, Lil Flip has braids, and braids rhymes with AIDS so it's probably him." This one got so popular that Slim Thug was said to have been carrying around his HIV test results because his name was regularly brought up during the debates. Nobody ever proved this true.
Why, Fundamentally, It's An Excellent Rumor: Because it's true.
In 2008, court records from a sealed case filed by Felicia J. Hardy in 2006, then 23, finally made their way onto the Internet. The suit established that Hardy 1) became HIV positive in November of 2006; and 2) had been in a long-term relationship with a known Houston rapper. Fox 26's Isiah Carey, who had already posted documents he'd swiped from Harris County Civil Court in an earlier investigation, posted the paperwork on his site, only to have it removed at the threat of legal action. The Houston rapper at the center of the controversy was...
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Nobody, fool. We literally just made that shit up right now, sitting here typing. That's the whole point. See how easy that is?
Anyway, good luck with No Limit, Propain.