America Is Dying Slowly (an acronym for AIDS) was the second Red Hot project focused on raising awareness about HIV/AIDS in communities of color in the United States. It featured collaborations from several hip hop acts, including Mobb Deep, De La Soul, Common, Coolio, Biz Markie, Chubb Rock, The Lost Boyz, Pete Rock, Eightball & MJG and Wu-Tang Clan. Dubbed “a masterpiece” by The Source on its release, AIDS was one of the first of such efforts aimed at reaching out to African American men through pop culture. The Wu Tang Clan’s title track got tremendous airplay on Hip Hop and Rap radio stations and functioned as one of the most effective public service announcements ever created during the AIDS crisis. The last live performance of the entire original Wu-Tang Clan was for the MTV special called “Red Hot + Rap” produced for the album. Old Dirty Bastard was so late that MTV got frustrated and started filming the song without him. He arrived in the middle, climbed on stage and did his verse, which appeared in the show and can be seen at the end of show, embedded here; along with interviews with Dr. Dre talking about Easy-E dying of AIDS and a young Cee Lo performing with his group Goodie Mob.
The CD included one of the first enhanced interactive elements ever released: a virtual DJ application that allowed people to remix tracks on the album, watch exclusive extra video segments and learn more about HIV/AIDS and safer sex.
Around the same time, Red Hot was approached by R. Kelly to do a superstar ballad to raise money and awareness to fight AIDS called “Every Nation.” The track was recorded with additional vocals by Mary J. Blige, Lauryn Hill, Curtis Mayfield and others; but the track and related project stalled when other artists who were scheduled to appear didn’t come to the session and the project was dropped by the record label. It was eventually released as part of a tribute to Princess Diana, but never achieved the level of success R. Kelly had in mind.