NLE Choppa is not dead. A prank news report that began circulating in April 2019 said that Choppa, whose real name is Bryson Lashun Potts, had been shot dead in Los Angeles around 7:40 p.m. The prank article said that the Los Angeles Police Department was in search of suspects.
In May 2019, the same website that published the report that Choppa had been shot dead in Los Angeles, published an article saying the teenage rapper had been found dead in his home. That prank report said that police were called to the home when neighbors reported hearing gunfire. The prank article goes on to say that police found Choppa with “3 bullet holes in his chest.”
A surefire indicator that Choppa is alive-and-well as of February 2020 is that the rapper has been regularly posting on his Twitter page recently. The Memphis-born rapper began his career at the age of 15 in 2018 and became a star in 2019 thanks to the success of his singles, “Camelot” and “Shotta Flow.”
The homepage for the website that has been circulating the fake stories includes a disclaimer, “Create A Prank & Trick Your Friends.” The disclaimer also reads, “We do NOT support FAKE NEWS!!! This is a Prank website that is intended for Fun. Bullying, Violent Threats or posts that Violate Public Order are NOT permitted on this Website.”
Choppa has recently been in the news after he proclaimed that slain rapper XXXTentacion was a “prophet” during an interview. Choppa said, “I feel like God sends certain people down to, like, help other people to just be there for them and help them get through something.” Choppa added that XXX’s song, “Jocelyn Flores,” was his favorite work by the late rapper.
In 2020, Choppa is rumored to be expecting a baby with his ex-girlfriend, Mariah.
Death hoaxes are hugely common in the internet age. In March 2014, ABC News published a guideline for internet users in order to help them to avoid falling for death hoaxes. At that time, a common death hoax suggested that various celebrities, including Jeff Goldblum and The Rock had died after falling from some cliffs in New Zealand. The ABC article pointed out that readers should be eagle-eyed for “bait text.” “Bait text” is something that seems interesting but has been used multiple times in multiple other fake stories.
While a Washington Post article on the same topic encouraged users to stick to known websites and noted that, “Breaking news stories will usually include the reporter’s name; hoaxes, mysteriously, go un-bylined.”
In 2014, The Week published a list of hoax sites. They included, Empire News, The National Report, Huzlers, Daily Currant and Free Wood Post. The website noted that occasionally news stories from satire sites such as The Onion and Clickhole are circulated as legitimate news. The Week article concludes simply that users should, “Take 30 seconds to determine whether something is real before you blast it out to hundreds of people. We’ll all have a better internet for it.” Buzzfeed’s Craig Silverman, a specialist in fake news, told DigiDay in 2012, “Fake news relies on viral sharing. If you think about why so many stars are subject to death hoaxes, they’ve been part of a pop culture that people have an emotional connection to. And that is at the core of what makes fake news work.”
Also in 2014, a digital media professor at Indiana University, Mark Bell, told the New York Times that part of the reason for the prevalence of death hoaxes is that “People like to lie. They get a thrill from it. There is a little hit of dopamine when you lie, especially a lie that is believed by somebody else.” While the Independent rationalized that the popularity for the stories was simply “because people want to read them.” Mark Bell also said of the phenomenon, “There’s not a lot of cost, either financially, morally, legally or criminally in doing this.”