Does Hip-Hop Have a Steroids Problem?

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Over the last decade baseball been rocked by the realization that many of its brightest stars were using steroids, a "realization" that, in retrospect, was painfully obvious as we all watched player's biceps swell and home run numbers skyrocket. I'm here today to tell you that, in similar fashion, hip-hop could be undergoing a steroid explosion right before our blinded eyes. Of course the stakes in baseball and hip-hop aren't nearly the same, steroids couldn't possibly enhance a rappers performance, but in today's music industry success is about much more than music. It's about image and persona, so in hip-hop's at times absurdly masculine environment the difference between a gut and a six-pack could mean the difference between millions in endorsements in album sales.

It should go without saying that I have absolutely no proof that the following rappers are using steroids, nor do I mean to point them out specifically other than to serve as catalysts for you to look at some of your favorite artists and at least wonder. And if they are (big "if") using? So what? They're grown men, they can put whatever they want in their bodies. Still...take a look...

Busta Rhymes

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In 1989 Busta Rhymes was introduced to hip-hop nation as an incredibly, almost fanatically energetic young rapper with the skinny frame to match. Now, more than twenty years later, Busta resembles a NFL linebacker more than the greyhound he once was. Some of the weight gain is undoubtedly due to the inevitable affects of aging, and a lot of late night fast food runs, but the man's muscle mass has to at the very least raise some eyebrows. As those of us who work out know, you can put on weight via protein and hitting the gym hard, but putting on 50, 60 pounds of muscle?

Dr. Dre

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Dr. Dre's body has undergone maybe the most dramatic change. Skinny as a youngster Dre got, well, fat in his older years...before emerging a couple years ago with biceps the size of Lil Mama. Seriously, the man now looks like a bodybuilder, and we know all those late nights in the studio aren't the reason. Interestingly his transformation took place after he signed 50 Cent, who himself is no stranger to shirtless pics. Now of course I'm not saying that Fiddy was hooking Dre up with enough HGH to kill a beluga whale, I'm just saying I wouldn't be surprised if he has.

LL Cool J

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I know this one's easily the most controversial considering LL's always been ripped - out of any rapper he's probably the best raw athlete - but what's been remarkable about James Todd is that he's actually gotten bigger

and

significantly decreased his body fat as he's gotten older. In fact, at 41 he's probably in the best shape of his life, kind of like how Barry Bonds had the best year of his career at 40? More than another other rapper LL's made a career, in part, out of his body, so the pressure to maintain it has to be enormous. If he did turn to some chemical help I don't think anyone would blame him.

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