Just as starlets who accidentally overdose are admitted to the hospital under the wink-wink term of "exhaustion," some rap and R&B stars, including Kanye West, Chief Keef and Chris Brown, have recently claimed that their Twitter accounts were hacked when they were caught saying something dumb or controversial.
Since Charlamagne Tha God, radio co-host of The Breakfast Club on New York's Power 105 FM, has heard this Twitter excuse countless times firsthand, we asked him to weigh in on who he thought had really been hacked and who might have stretched the truth. "The jig is up, celebrities," he told The Root. "We're onto that, OK? It's like [women with] fake asses."
In September, Chicago rapper Chief Keef blamed hackers for a widely publicized and quickly deleted Tweet that emerged from his account after the shooting death of rival Lil JoJo: "Its Sad Cuz Dat Nigga Jojo Wanted To Be Jus Like Us #LMAO." Thousands of people online expressed their dismay and horror. Appearing on an episode of the BET series Don't Sleep! Hosted by T.J. Holmes, Lil JoJo's mother, Robin Russell, told the host that she believes Chief Keef paid someone to kill her son. "That [situation] wasn't cool at all, but that goes to a bigger issue," Charlamagne explained. "I don't think that people realize that Twitter is just a reflection of what's going on in our society."
Editor's note: A previous version of this post claimed that Charlamagne's quote referred to Lil JoJo's mother. We regret the error.
After Havoc went on a Twitter tirade against his (now former) Mobb Deep partner, Prodigy, in April and alleged that Prodigy was gay and having sex with men while incarcerated, Havoc called in to The Breakfast Club the next morning to say that he'd been hacked. The only problem was that he claimed his phone had been stolen from a gas station in New Jersey and his Twitter account was hacked from the phone, but the tweets weren't being sent out from the phone — they were sent from the Web. Charlamagne and his co-hosts, DJ Envy and Angela Yee, instantly knew that Havoc wasn't telling the truth (especially since he was caught on tape saying the same insults on the phone), but Havoc didn't admit he'd lied until months later. "They think that we're going to fall for it, but actually we just know that you're full of s—t," Charlamagne said.
A rumor circulated in August that Bow Wow tried to blame hackers after a photo purporting to be of him and a man asleep together in bed made the Twitter rounds. An angry tweet that came from his account offered a $2,500 payment to anyone who could "slap the piss out" of the person who put out the photo. "I actually tweeted Bow Wow during that whole scenario," Charlamagne revealed. "I said, 'You're getting too much money and you're in too great a position to send out criminal threats to somebody via Twitter,' and he tweeted me back and said, 'Man, I don't give a [f—k] about this industry [s—t], word up.' "
A hacker was blamed for uploading a naked picture of porn star (and Kim K lookalike) Amia Miley to Kanye West's Twitter account in June. But Charlamagne isn't entirely convinced that this one was a hack. "Celebrities' alter egos hack themselves," he said. "And at the end of the day, you're just a regular person. Kanye got caught in a regular moment … He had a moment where Kanye West the regular person hacked Kanye West the celebrity."
Chris Brown would never, ever get into a war with Cher, of all people. At least that's what he claimed when a June tweet shocked the Twitterverse: "That damn GRANNY bitch CHER needs to keep her mouth SHUTTTT about her opinion against obama !!! smh she needs a beating." "I have the utmost respect for u as an artist! @cher," Brown later tweeted. "Just to clear this up!" While the jury may still be out on this particularly bizarre incident, "I think Chris Brown the person hacks Chris Brown the celebrity all the time," Charlamagne said.
Actual Twitter hackers can be really disrespectful, and that includes toward people who are no longer alive. Heavy D's Twitter account was actually hacked after his death. An inappropriate picture of a male backside was tweeted from it. That's a far cry from Heavy D's actual last tweet: "BE INSPIRED."
Kreayshawn insisted that hackers were to blame when private underage photos of her emerged on Twitter in August 2011, just as she was hoping to win the best new artist category at the MTV Video Music Awards. "My twitter got hacked today by some anti-hollywood extremists," she tweeted. "They sent out wack ass tweets and promoted their odd message of anti-jew stuff and deleted my twitter." The scandal didn't help her career. She lost the MTV VMA and endured a public lashing when her debut album, Somethin' Bout Kreay, sold less than 4,000 copies in its first week. "She could post whatever she wants on her Twitter at this point," Charlamagne said. "Nobody cares."
In June 2011 the Game's Twitter feed mysteriously started dropping messages like, "I'm gay as hell" and "I like boys." There were also epithets thrown via 140-character messages to Lil Wayne, 50 Cent and others. "Gimme MY TWITTER back bitch," Game later tweeted. "Nice try [mothaf—kas]. Hope it was fun while it lasted." "I say he did get hacked," Charlamagne offered.
Similarly, Lil Wayne's Twitter account was most likely hacked when tweets such as one saying that he'd been raped while incarcerated at Rikers Island in New York came from his account. This probably didn't bother Weezy too much, but these kinds of incidents and invasions of privacy (even online) can definitely be hurtful and play on a celebrity's emotions. "I think that we have this weird notion online that, psychologically, celebrities aren't human and are above average human emotion," Charlamagne said. "But they're not."
A hacker group called UGNazi claimed credit for hacking Soulja Boy in October. His Twitter and YouTube accounts were overtaken and left with messages asking people to follow UGNazi's Twitter account. "There's people who sit around all day, and their sole purpose is to hack a celebrity on Twitter," noted Charlamagne. "People get off on that kind of stuff."