The (Hip-Hop) Mitchell Report
Today, Senator George Mitchell is going to release a comprehensive report about Major League Baseball players, both past and present, who are suspected of using steroids while playing. The report is going to catch a lot of people's attention, largely because some marquee names will be called out. I'm interested largely because I've been following the scandal for years now, but also because I've seen the same thing going on in hip-hop.
As Chris Rock, once said about the Major League Baseball steroid scandal, "If people could take a drug that makes them do their job better, they would." Judging by the look of some of today's artists, a bunch of rappers are taking something. Rappers are buff as hell, and no one really knows how this happened. But one theory that I'm hoping someone like Russell Simmons (hip-hop's George Mitchell) will look into is the possibility of closet-steroid-users in front of the microphone. And before I get into why I think rappers use steroids, I'd like to list just some of the names I want to be investigated.
50 Cent (Obviously)
Busta Rhymes (Big dude, but that temper, boy)
Nelly (He was like the first rapper ever on the cover of Men's Health a couple years back, and I've been wondering how ever since.)
Dr. Dre (From Chronic 2001 to Steroids 2007 after the MTV Awards)
Yung Joc (Ask the 106 & Park crowd, they know)
Before Kanye West ever had a workout plan, the image of a rapper was based on something less tangible than a flexed bicep; clothes made the man, and the man who didn't wear the clothes, well, they were suspect. Most women loved Tupac for his charisma, not his wafer-thin frame. And when Biggie said, "Heartthrob never/black and ugly as ever" he made every man in America with a high cholesterol count feel like they could get their own Lil Kim. Your weight class didn't' matter, ladies loved you and girls adored you all because of the aura.
But now lightweight and heavyweight rappers are out of style like a hi-top fade. When LL Cool J rapped on the "Dabunkadonk" remix, "I changed the game, I got 'em doing stomach crunches," big man wasn't lying. The only way LL Cool J was able to be relevant again is because when he came back out with "Luv U Better" a couple of years ago, he performed half the music video without his shirt. Same with 50 Cent. Half his popularity can be attributed to the fact that two of his last three album covers are pictures of him with no shirt on. Guaranteed had 50 put out Curtis with an album cover similar to his previous two, Kanye would've lost, because everyone knows females are more than likely to buy albums than men, so after a while, if a rapper is looking to maximize his audience, who's he going to cater to? Her.
Also take into account the rising popularity of black gossip blogs which constantly crack jokes about malnutrition-looking rappers taking their shirts off at concerts. Seeing as these rappers can't just go shooting up the commenters and bloggers hiding behind their computer screen, the only logical step would be for them to get into the gym, and if they want to see results quickly (because they're about four weeks away from a promo tour), the next logical step would be to get a little bit of help from modern medicine. And if you think I'm crazy, think about this:
Jay-Z once said, "Hope you don't think users are the only abusers/niggas, getting high within the game." Just like rock stars and jazz musicians used to shoot up, smoke, and drink themselves into a stupor because they thought it would make them play better, rappers have done the same thing with things like chronic and ectasy. They're trying to get into that "zone". So why would anyone think steroids are different? Maybe you think they're not hip-hop? Well, neither was ectasy, but those in the know know these rappers drop E like it's a Flinstone's pill.
The fact is, sex sells more than lyrics, more than beats, and more than beef. Women know this, which is why you see so many female celebrities get work done. And men know this too, except they don't go under the knife to get their work done, they just pop some pills or take a shot. How else do you explain all these never-been-to-jail rappers looking like they just got out last week?