I then tried another ROM with same results so its not ROM related.
anyone else getting the same thing or is it just me?
thanks for the suggestions. I think I figured out the issue, though. i think it was an xposed module I recently installed that replaces the smiley key with an enter key. The module was working fine until today and i guess the latest hangouts update is incompatible. I completely forgot about that module until now.
anyway, i uninstalled the module and its working again.
i feel like a noob, forgetting about a module I had installed but thanks anyway