It's been six months since Kool-Aid came back to life. Not everyone has received the memo.
"A lot of people still think I'm dead," he says.
In January, a rumor spread on social media claiming that the promoter—a longtime fixture of the Portland hip-hop scene, who could often be seen selling CDs and passing out fliers outside concerts and wearing his signature do-rag—had been shot and killed in Fernhill Park.
It's unclear how it started. But once it got around, the scene reacted with shock.
"Wow. I don't understand how anyone would want to hurt Kool-Aid," one person tweeted. "He was such a staple in Portland and was literally so kind to everyone. You will be greatly missed."
"He worked harder than some of the artists he was promoting," wrote another.
Veteran rapper Terrance "Cool Nutz" Scott has known Kool-Aid for over a decade. Scott used to meet up with him regularly and give him his CDs to sell, then later split the money.
"He became the face of the guerrilla street promoter," Scott says. "If you haven't come out of a show and seen Kool-Aid, you're not hip-hop."
Scott says he and other members of the rap community "took it as a lightweight responsibility to look out for him." When he heard Kool-Aid had been shot, several thoughts went through his head.
"He has a propensity to get lippy, or give you too much of his opinion about something," Scott says. "I thought, 'Man, I hope he wasn't talking reckless to somebody.'"
Without a social media presence of his own—and because he frequently changes his phone number, Scott says—the rumor of Kool-Aid's death grew unchecked for almost a full day. Someone even started a crowdfunding campaign to help pay for his funeral.
Alas, the rumor turned out to be false. (A man with the same nickname had been the victim.) A Facebook video of Kool-Aid declaring, "I'm alive," confirmed it, and a report on KGW TV spread the news.
From there, the tone turned from mourning to jubilant relief.
"I see he's alive, and I'm like, is he, like, Jesus or something? What's going on?" Stoopid Burger co-owner John Hunt told KGW. "It's just crazy, but I'm glad he's OK. He's loved in the community. He's helped a lot of people out, and it just shows how much love he has."
For his part, the incident seems to have left Kool-Aid nonplussed. He says he didn't need to die to know he's appreciated.
"I get a lot of love everywhere, especially in Portland," he says, "because I'm in the streets every day."
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