Few people will admit it, but gossip is big business, especially when it involves rappers. Rumors and hearsay aren't always a bad thing, but it shows the reality of being famous—it's hard to maintain privacy. As an artist's name gets bigger, fans want to know everything about their life. Toss in social media, and rumors come to life at a faster clip than ever. But sometimes, the chatter turns out to be true. Here, XXL highlights some rumors in hip-hop that were actually factual.
Jay-Z and Kanye West are legends for a multitude of reasons, but one of the things they don't get enough credit for is opening the door for others to create big-ticket joint albums between two rappers. When their commercial and critically successful album, Watch The Throne, was announced in 2010, it felt like Kanye West was just saying anything. Hip-hop's history is full of albums that never came to fruition, and a lot of them were collaboration albums between two rappers that people loved. Fortunately for everyone, Watch The Throne was real, as it dropped in August of 2011, produced hit singles like "Otis," a historically successful tour and a set of songs that few believed would ever happen.
Watch The Throne set the stage for What A Time To Be Alive in 2015, the somewhat unlikely collab project between Drake and Future, both of which were huge rap stars in the moment. Drizzy appears a few times on this list, from rumors about having a child to his own collabs. Just like WTT, there were plenty of rumors and whispers before it dropped, but once footage appeared of Drake working with Future, along with proof the album would release, it felt like déjà vu. Hov and Ye proved to labels and artists that something of this scale could be done, and Drake and Future carried the torch on to another generation of rap.
A$AP Rocky has found himself at the center of some hip-hop rumors, too. Last year, the talk that Rihanna had a baby on board started after her Dazed magazine cover in September. Then a tweet from Portuguese outlet Rap Mais stating she was having a baby went viral in November. Rocky and Rihanna were already locked in as a couple, which had its own fair share of rumors leading up to that confirmation, so the rapper being a first-time father to Rihanna's child was bound to be surrounded by gossip.
Take a look below to see some more hip-hop rumors that turned out to be true.
Jay-Z and Kanye West's Watch The Throne
In 2010, back when it was highly unusual for rap stars to drop joint albums, Kanye West announced he was dropping an EP titled Watch The Throne with Jay-Z. Considering they had nearly a decade-long working relationship, this was the kind of project rap fans would lose their minds over. However, being a fan of hip-hop means wading through album announcements that never see the light of day, especially at this scale. Kanye went a step further, and said later that year, Watch The Throne would be an official album. It turned out Kanye wasn't just talking. Once the early singles started rolling out, like "H.A.M." and the top 20 single "Otis," it all began to crystallize. Released in August of 2011, it went on to become one of the most beloved rap albums of its time, selling 436,000 units in its first week, and opened the floodgates of rapper collab albums that we still see today.
When it came to Kanye and Jay-Z's Watch The Throne Tour in 2011, it was rescheduled from a starting date in September to October. Rumors included there were issues between the two artists that resulted in disagreements, which caused the delays. Could this have been the start of Ye and Hov's friction as friends? The tour still went on, heading into June of 2012, to critical acclaim.
Drake and Future's What A Time To Be Alive
What A Time To Be Alive existed purely as a rumor in the summer of 2015, further stoked after Drake appeared as the guest on Future's DS2 single "Where Ya At" in 2015. At the time, there was no reason to believe a Drake collab project would actually come to fruition, considering YOLO, his ongoing rumored collab album with Rick Ross, still hadn't dropped at the time (and still isn't out). But What A Time To Be Alive was real, confirmed by Drake in September of 2015, complete with studio footage of the duo with Metro Boomin in Atlanta. No surprise to anyone, the joint project sold 370,000 units and was No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart in its debut week, and led directly to the Summer Sixteen Tour.
A$AP Rocky and Rihanna Dating Then Her Being Pregnant
Longtime friends A$AP Rocky and Rihanna have always had rumors surrounding them that they had been dating. The talk picked up more after she appeared as his leading lady in the 2013 "Fashion Killa" video, a single from Rocky's debut album, Long. Live. A$AP. Rocky opened up as a performer for her Diamonds Tour that same year, but the rumors that they were a couple died down with time. She started dating Drake at one point, and through the years, had other longstanding romances, which deaded any Rocky and RiRi relationship.
However, in 2019, A$AP Rocky attended Rihanna's annual Diamond Ball and they both showed up to the British Fashion Awards together. The next year, they did a few interviews together, most notably for GQ Magazine and Vogue, and had the chemistry that suggested they were more than friends. In 2021, Rocky said Rihanna was "the love of my life" in his own interview with GQ, and they were seen together on many dates all over New York City for most of that year.
Then the rumors that she was pregnant began. Last year, people on social media were stirring up conversation that Rihanna had a baby on board after she did a Dazed magazine cover shoot, which debuted in September. A month later, a tweet from Portuguese outlet Rap Mais stating the singer was pregnant went viral. In January, Rocky and Rihanna announced they were going to be parents. Now, they have a baby on the way. The long-running rumors were true and then some, as they are well on their way to building a family together.
Cardi B Pregnant With Second Child
At the top of 2021, there were rumors swirling that Cardi B was pregnant with her second child, which would be a sibling to her first child, Kulture. This was a big deal because of Cardi B's immense fame, but also because of her husband, Offset of Migos, a famous rapper in his own right. The rumor picked up even more speed after her performance at the 2021 Grammy Awards last March, where she performed her song "WAP" with Megan Thee Stallion. Fans immediately began to say Cardi looked like she was pregnant, but the rapper never confirming it until the end of June. She did so by coming onstage during a Migos performance at the 2021 BET Awards, with her pregnant stomach exposed. She also dropped maternity pics on Instagram the same night. The people got it right.
There's been talk that Drake had a child since 2017, when it was revealed he was on the verge of ending up in a paternity suit with Sophie Brussaux, the woman who was rumored to be the mother of his child at the time. The rapper allegedly didn't believe the child that she was a few months pregnant with was his. However, he was confirmed to be the father. All of this went on mostly in the dark until late May of 2018, when his beef with Pusha-T came to a head. Push dropped the song "The Story Of Adidon," on which he reveals Drake is hiding a child due to being embarrassed about Sophie's past as being in adult videos, amongst other insults. The child, Adonis, became a point of interest for fans and his enemies alike, and Drake later admitted that he was a dad. He did so on the track “March 14,” from his 2018 album, Scorpion, and on social media. Drake wasn't trying to hide Adonis completely, but likely keep him away from the evils of the internet and public in a beef that had gotten nasty by that point.
Rihanna and Drake's Song "Work"
If there's one good thing that has come out of Drake and Rihanna linking up, whether as friends or more in the past, it's the great music they make. In 2016, rumors began to point to a new collab between the singer and her friend-former romantic interest Drake. After leaked call sheets from a video shoot and snippets of a song leaked to the internet, it became a huge story. That track would end up being "Work," which would top the Billboard Hot 100 chart and become one of Rihanna's biggest songs. Drake hopping on it buoys it, and adds a male perspective centered on balancing money and love. Considering Drake and Rihanna's previous connection, plus this being the first time they worked together again since the title track to Drake's 2011 album, Take Care, the fans were overjoyed. Just the idea of the song existing was enough to cause a frenzy.
Cam'ron and Jay-Z are both immense personalities in their own right. Put them on the same label, which was the case in 2001, when Cam signed to Roc-A-Fella Records, and things eventually got dicey. Mostly unbeknownst to the public, there were already rumors of friction early on, which then bubbled over as a result of a decision made by Roc-A-Fella cofounder Dame Dash. In 2002, Dash offered Cam a position as Vice President of the Roc while Jay-Z was away. Allegedly, Jay didn't love the idea or the way Dame went about it, and the tension between Jay and Cam became more solidified. By 2006, Cam was dissing Hov on the track "You Gotta Love It," and Jay offered his own diss with "Dig A Hole." Eventually, Cam moved on from the label. As is Cam's style, he and the rest of The Diplomats continued to poke and prod at Jay over time. Nowadays, the beef is over, but what began as rap fan rumblings turned out to be true.
Lil Wayne and Birdman Settling Lawsuit Over Tha Carter V
Lil Wayne and Birdman are legendary as both solo artists and as a pairing releasing plenty of classic tracks together. Weezy is an amazing rapper who helped carry Birdman's Cash Money Records through two different generations, helped introduce Nicki Minaj and Drake to hip-hop and the mainstream, plus much more. Baby and Wayne have had a father-son relationship over the years, so when there were rumblings of issues between the two in 2014, it came as a shock to hip-hop. Once word got out Weezy and Baby were not on the same page regarding money and the release date of Wayne's highly anticipated album, Tha Carter V, it felt almost unbelievable.
Things had spiraled so badly that Wayne was dissing Baby at shows, and Rick Ross began to demand that Baby make things right with Weezy. In 2015, Lil Wayne announced a $51 million lawsuit against Cash Money, which stemmed from the delay of the album. Things were apparently more serious than anyone assumed. Wayne reached a settlement with Birdman in 2018, resulting in Cash Money's parent label, Universal, reportedly paying Wayne over $10 million and moving him directly to the label. Tha Carter V came out shortly after, and sold 480,000 units in its first week. After all that drama, Tha Carter V lived up to its expectations.
Jay Electronica Collaborating With Jay-Z on an Album
The story of Jay Electronica's career is one of waiting. He took off in 2009, off the strength of his Just Blaze-produced songs "Exhibit A" and "Exhibit C," along with his dizzying technical skill. He signed to Roc Nation in 2010, then never dropping an album, until one faithful day in 2020. That album was A Written Testimony, and Electronica confirmed its existence through a series of tweets, that also included a release date, 40 days from the time of his post on March 13 of that year. Electronica said Jay-Z was also to be featured, which was interesting but expected. However, the rumor mill began to say it wasn't just a spot appearance from Hov, but it was closer to a collab album, according to different media and industry personalities. As crazy as the idea sounds of a mysterious, yet highly heralded underground rapper releasing his debut album after 10 years with a bunch off Jay-Z verses attached, it was actually true. Hov appears on seven of the album's 10 tracks, and the chemistry between the two MC's is sharp, making the wait somewhat worth it.
Unfortunately, the downside to social media these days is that bad news travels fast. Before a factcheck can happen, the tweets including rumors can turn into internet snowballs before the avalanche occurs. Last November, there were rumors starting to bubble on Twitter that Young Dolph had been killed. In the early afternoon of Nov. 17, there were quite a few people tweeting that they had heard about the lauded rapper's passing and he had been shot. Meanwhile, there were no official announcements made by his team or news outlets.
Ultimately, the tragic news was confirmed hours later that day. Young Dolph had been killed after entering a local Memphis cookie shop, Makeda's Homemade Cookies. The Memphis native was shot around 1 p.m. that day. The Paper Route Empire CEO had been approached by two gunmen. While the case is still ongoing, the arrests of three men suspected to be involved in his death means it's closer to being solved.