Not often do you hear of gay rappers, if I’m brutally honest I didn’t even know such a thing existed. To me, hip hop does not seem like a place where gay people are welcome, I mean look at all the controversy over Lil B’s album titled I’m gay.
The US rapper even received death threats because of the title, so much so that he had to change the title to I’m Gay (I’m Happy) because the original was so ‘offensive’.
Hip hop has always been labelled as homophobic, with referring to gay people as “punks” and throwing around words such as “f*ggot” this comes as no surprise.
But the void seems to be filling as more people are taking a stand. Take Dean Atta, a gay British spoken word poet. Last year a video of him perfoming his poem Young, Black and Gay was published on the epicenter of British rap, Grime Daily. Here are some of the comments that were posted in response to the video:
“kill the faggot”
“bunn this gay prick”
“BRUV DON’T TRY AND PLACE BEING GAY AS THE SAME STRUGGLE AS BEING BLACK, IT’S DOWNRIGHT DISRESPECTFULL… EVEN SLIGHTY MANIPULATIVE.
YOU THINK BCOS UR GAY AND YOU TALK ABOUT BLACK STRUGGLE YOU SHOULD GET EMPATHY [sic]”
SUCK A DICK U HOMO.
BATTY BWOY FE DEAD…”
“this breh shud get chopped with a machete. faggit [sic]”
It’s really is shocking to see the level of aggression and violence that is invoked when one man decides to state that he’s gay. Is it any wonder there are no openly gay rappers in mainstream music? Hip hop has embraced the “white rapper” and the “female rapper” so why not the “gay rapper”?
Kanye West said hip hop is about “speaking your mind and about breaking down barriers, but everyone in hip-hop discriminates against gay people”. The rapper admitted that he was labelled a “mama’s boy” when he was younger and the name-calling made him question himself and made him “homophobic”. He later changed his ways when his cousin came out as gay.
So is that what is is then? The aggression towards gay people is a result of the fear of being emasculated? It seems so, as most hip hop lyrics portray gay men as weak and feminine. As a male in hip hop, or even as a female in hip hop you have to be masculine and strong and in the eyes of many, gay men are neither as M.O.D described them, they are seen as “women trapped inside men”.
But there are a growing number of hip hop artists who want to dispel the stereotype. LA based rapper Deadlee said, “I come hard to let [people] know that we ain’t all punks or weak or feminine. I’m not saying if you’re feminine you’re a punk, but that’s how they relate it. I just want to give them a different image. I’ve always been masculine and I look hard. I just want to flip it on them a little bit. I hope there is a place for [us] in hip-hop eventually.”