....seriously, dudes are doing roids just to perfect their "look". wow.
Jeepers, Rappers, Where’d You Get Those Arms and Torsos?
By BEN SISARIO
Published: January 15, 2008
When news surfaced over the weekend that 50 Cent, Wyclef Jean, Timbaland and other rap stars had been implicated in a steroids investigation, some hip-hop fans were shocked, but to many in the industry the accusations seemed inevitable.
Although public accusations of steroid and human-growth-hormone use by rappers and R&B stars — like Mary J. Blige, who was also named in the investigation, according to a report in The Times Union of Albany — are all but unheard of, the latest news struck a chord about the increasing pressure on these performers to maintain perfect, even superhuman physiques as a part of their overall image and brand.
“The spectacle of hip-hop now is so much greater than it’s ever been,” said Jeff Chang, the author of the hip-hop history “Can’t Stop Won’t Stop.” “There’s always the battle aesthetic at work, this idea that you’re going to go up there and show that you’re badder than everybody else. It’s part of the swagger that hip-hop carries.”
The investigation, by the Albany County district attorney’s office, has focused on doctors who illegally prescribe drugs for nonmedical purposes. None of the celebrities have been accused of breaking the law, though The Times Union, citing anonymous sources, reported that the stars have received packages of prescribed steroids and human-growth hormone at their homes, at hotels around the country and at the offices of a Long Island chiropractor.
But the recent news highlights an issue that has long been whispered about in hip-hop as some performers have leaned ever more heavily on a Schwarzeneggerian body as part of their public image.
The producer and rapper Timbaland, whose real name is Tim Mosley, weighed more than 300 pounds before his dramatic turnaround a few years ago, when he began a rigorous exercise regime and transformed himself into a bodybuilder, dropping more than 100 pounds in the process. Representatives for Timbaland and 50 Cent did not respond to requests for comment yesterday. A spokeswoman for Ms. Blige said that the singer had never taken steroids, and a spokeswoman for Columbia Records had no comment about Wyclef Jean.
Anabolic steroids and human growth hormone can have immediately visible results in rappers as in athletes, decreasing fat tissue and increasing muscle. But the long-term consequences of the growth hormone can be severe, said Dr. Alvin M. Matsumoto of the University of Washington and the Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System.
“If you take it in excessive amounts, it will stimulate a lot of soft-tissue growth, make the jaws larger,” Dr. Matsumoto said. “There could be a lot of the manifestations of organ enlargement — heart enlargement, liver enlargement. All tissues are enlarged, basically, because of growth-hormone stimulation. And that’s not good.”
Talk has swirled about many rappers who have maintained suspiciously Olympian musculatures.
But for 50 Cent, in particular, the news could affect his business. A former boxer, he has long promoted himself as fit and abstemious. He also has a line of vitamin water sold through Glacéau, which was bought by Coca-Cola last year for $4.1 billion.
“The marketing of the images is so key now to so many different bottom lines,” Mr. Chang said. “Not just the music industry, but a whole range of consumer products. Your body is your brand and you’ve got to maintain that image. The machoness and braggadoccio, that’s always been a part of hip-hop. What’s different at the highest levels of the money game in hip-hop is the size of it all.”
How the allegations will be received by fans, however, is far from clear. Illegal or unsavory behavior carries little stigma in some corners of the hip-hop world. And troubles with the law can even help the all-important celebrity story line.
“Fans watch these people like they are watching movies,” Danyel Smith, editor of Vibe magazine, said. These kind of controversies, she added “are considered another arc in the narrative. People will wait to see what good, and what tragedy, will come of it.”