Hip-hop/Spirituality/Freethinking. Speaking for all underdogs!
Lord Jamar Has a God-Complex!
By Khalil Amani
As gay hip-hop's self-professed "straight advocate/ally" I would be remiss in my duties if I didn't take Lord Jamar Allah to task for his angst over gays in hip-hop, Mister Cee and the rest of that f#*kery he spewed on Vladtv.com. (Somebody ask Vlad to give Khalil Amani some face time!)To put it bluntly, Lord Jamar's critique of gays not being allowed in hip-hop is a patriarchal-centric, homophobic, infantile bromide (hackneyed statements or notions), which is devoid of any substantive psychological rigor. (i.e. It's some bulls#*t!) Now leggo!
Naming one’s self “Lord” and “Allah” (God) is indicative of a person’s longing to be divine. Whether it be the cultic religiosity of the Five Percent Nation (which Lord Jamar reps) or the pseudo Christology of a Jim Jones (the cult leader, not the rapper!) messianic figure. (But I ain't tryna attack the old guy on a personal note, because I'm much older than he, but I still have my scruples. I was jus' sayin'...)
This old-head rapper, Lord Jamar Allah of the old school rap group Brand Nubians has been on a quest to be hip-hop’s anti-gay mouf-piece, yea, the poster-boy of archaic, antiquated and outdated thinking to a generation of young’uns who really don’t give any f#*ks about kilt-wearing or skirt-wearing—who care very little about Mister Cee’s sexuality. Of all the rappers, young and old, Lord Jamar is the most outspoken on gays and hip-hop! Dare I say dissing gays has become his “Raison d'être” (reason for existence)? I'm starting to think that Lord Jamar is an agent provocateur for the so-called "gay agenda." If it weren't for the gay agenda this man would get no press at all! Without the "gay agenda" Jamar would be totally irrelevant! VladTV is giving him hella face-time! He is introducing himself to a younger hip-hop generation who knew not Brand Nubians from back in the day.
Jamar claims to be one of the “architects” of hip-hop—and that may be true, but he’s dealing with one of the creators of hip-hop (me!) and there is a qualitative difference!
An “architect” sketches and builds from existing raw materials. A “creator” starts from nothing and brings a thought to fruition from nothingness. An architect molds and fashions said project, but a creator provides said materials to be fashioned. Thus, in this case, Lord Jamar, Afrika Bambaataa and the rest of them might have been the architects of hip-hop, but the PEOPLE are its CREATORS!
And since the people are the creators of hip-hop, no one individual can dictate who can be a member of this culture—not Lord Jamar or Afrika Bambaataa!
Either Lord Jamar (like the white man) has a “God Complex” (coined by The Last Poets) or he done let his Five Percent teachings spill over into hip-hop culture. Who the f#*k are you to tell us that gay people have no business in hip-hop? (If the true and unbiased history of hip-hop is ever written we will have to deal with homosexuality and the founding fathers! Nobody wants to open that can of worms though!) Who the f#*k are you to tell us what is and isn’t hip-hop? Who the f#*k are you to tell us what the architects of hip-hop had in mind when creating this culture? And who the f#*k are you to say that Kanye West is being defiant for wearing another—longer dress, as though you have set the decree for acceptable hip-hop accoutrement? Did you meet with some other old-head rappers and write a Papal Bull decrying the wearing of kilts and skirts? Are you the Pope of rap?
On Kanye’s dress wearing. Lord Jamar claims Kanye West was “defiant” when he recently wore another Kilt/dress on Jimmy Fallon. (As though Kanye has read Jamar’s decree on men wearing skirts and has openly rebelled against the government of Lord Jamar!) But let’s kick da ballistics!
Very few, if any, rappers took up the mantle of dismantling niggas saggin’. Some old dude on America Idol made the biggest statement on saggin’, but was looked at as a joke because of his age and his non-singing ability. Saggin’ was allowed to persist because it took on a masculine, macho, uber-male persona. Saggin’ was gangsta! Saggin’ was cool! Saggin' represented the streets of the hood. Saggin' came from prisons the penal institutions when dudes were letting other dudes (who were presumably heterosexual, but needed a sexual release) know their ass was available for fucking! Saggin' is homo-erotic than a muthafucka!
Do you know how many niggas ass-cracks and panties I’ve seen over the years? (Should I inject a “No homo” or “Pause” here? Hell no! You know what the f#*k I mean!) There was a time when the only male ass-crack we saw was the plumber when he came by to fix our project toilet.
What Lord Jamar is not saying to us—Kilt/skirt-wearing is feminine and therefore must be attacked. Saggin’ is masculine and therefore allowed to be some hip-hop fashion statement. Kilt-wearing pulls at the heart-strings of hip-hop’s masculine aura, so it must be condemned. It all boils down to Masculinity versus Femininity, which translates as “hetero” versus “homo.”
I am no fan of anyone dictating what is or what is not hip-hop. I loathe anyone defining and dictating what hip-hop culture is and is not! It’s not like the Scottish kilt is the first time hip-hop has “borrowed” from another culture! Practically everything rappers rap about is some other folks shit—from “Beamers, Benz, and Bentleys” to the designer accoutrement of Louis Vuitton and Gucci to the Audemars watches on their wrists to the gold and diamonds rappers drape themselves in (which have been stolen from the Motherland and forged in blood) to the weave-wearing video vixen who cops her hair via the Koreans and Indians. (Not to mention how rap music “samples” music from other genres/cultures.)
It is a self-serving and moot argument, which Lord Jamar makes. Hip-hop has always been an amalgamation of cultural-borrowing right on down to the Kangols, Cazals and Shell Toes Adidas and Air Jordans, which were all created, not by the hood, but by white companies outside of the hood and co-opted by the hood.
Furthermore, Lord Jamar makes this kilt-wearing thingy a sexual preference issue when he once tweeted #halfafag. Now you have left the realm of hip-hop fashion and entered into the homophobic zone. Jamar doesn't say #halfawoman! Nay! He goes for Kanye's jugular and calls him halfway gay! (Even though Kanye has had some of the hawtest [female] asses on the planet!)
Lord Jamar lays out the evolution of kilt-wearing, starting with rappers wearing earrings in both ears, followed by the love of diamonds (which used to be “a girl’s best friend!") to skinny jeans and now kilts/dresses. I don’t see it so cut-and-dry. Hip-hop is the bastard-child of Disco who, like the short black male life-span, thought it would implode after a few years. Our mother was wrong!
Hip-hop, like any other culture is not immune from “cross-cultural borrowing!” (i.e. Acculturation)
Hip-hop/rap was birthed on the tail end of the Disco era, which we know was homo-friendly. The (gay) Village People embodied that era of music. Disco alongside of Funk music was all about theatrics/costumes and so, the first hip-hop/rap groups were costume laden.
But even more than that—the psyche of the black man—the brashness of rap music has always been arrogant, something that Lord Jamar seems to not understand. Lord Jamar says Kanye is "arrogant" for wearing a kilt? A man who calls himself "Lord" (with a capital "L") is in no moral position to cast aspersions on another man's character. I'm just sayin'... It’s always been about “Sucker MC’s” vs. “We the Best!” Couple that with niggas getting money and you’re gonna have rappers making outlandish fashion statements! Not only were Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five’s wardrobe outrageous—but so was Run DMC’s—big gold dooky chains, shell toe sneakers without strings, Kangols and Cazals became the new flashy swaggerific thing to wear.
Hell! If I were filthy rich I’m sure I’d get tired of conventional, standard fashions! I’d be out there on a limb with Kanye rockin’ some bell-bottom pants with a bitch-zipper in the back (for example). Since when did hip-hop put a cap on “self/artistic expression?” Hip-hop is dynamic, not static! Hip-hop is about movement—some shit that is straight-up whack and some stuff that’s cool, but to say kilt-wearing isn’t hip-hop because it belongs to the Scottish is hip-hop picking & choosing—invoking the nationalistic/cultural race card when that fashion statement steps over the line of masculinity.
Black people are flashy by nature (or is it by nurture?). Whatever the case, you can trace black people’s flashiness back to Africa, Egypt and beyond! We are a colorful people and hip-hop/rap is an extension of our African-ness. Unbeknownst to many Negroes (but I’m sure Lord Jamar knows this!), African men have their own version of the kilt/dress and there are tribes in Africa where men wear make-up to attract females. Hip-hop heads didn’t create swag! Hip-hop heads didn’t create fashion! It is in our DNA! We African peoples in the West have a certain “je ne sais quoi” (French for something that cannot be adequately described or expressed) when it comes to our fashion sensibilities.
Telling gay people like Mister Cee that he has an “illness”—that liking transgender women is some kind of “sickness” in an opinion without medical or psychiatric foundation. It is rooted in Lord Jamar’s warped understanding of human sexuality. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III-R) homosexuality is normalative and part of our grand scale of sexuality.
When it’s all said and done, a gay rapper will emerge in the mainstream and rip to shreds any notion that Lord Jamar and his kind think. For the realness...
Hip-hop may be exploring the androgynous (male/female) side of things. Don’t get your panties in a bunch Mr. Jamar! This too, shall pass. What we have here is the old biblical scripture being fulfilled; "One [hip-hop] generation passeth away and another [hip-hop] generation cometh..." (Ecc. 1:4). Hip-hop will neither be emasculated or feminized by the kilt or gays; for to think so would mean that those gentlemen in Scotland are thus and that all gays are feminine. Hip-hop will one day embrace a gay rapper and hip-hop will keep the kilt and dispose of it like any other fad, just as hip-hop will damn the demagogue (the likes of Lord Jamar) who would try to steer hip-hop's movements. Hip-hop is without labels and boundaries and no one person within the culture has the right to define it for us! Lord Jamar is from a different hip-hop era and like the dinosaur, his thinking will become extinct. The white man has taught Lord Jamar well—he has a “God complex” when it comes to hip-hop, but Father Time has something fo’ yo’ ass!
Khalil Amani is a blogger for AllHipHop. He also writes for DJ Kay Slay’s Originators Magazine & Straight Stuntin Magazine. Amani also writes for Hoodgrown, Maybach and Sext Magazines. He is the author of six books, including the ground-breaking book, “Hip-Hop Homophobes…” iuniverse.com 07). Amani is gay hip-hop’s self-proclaimed straight advocate. Visit The Coonerific One at http://www.khalilamani.ning.com Follow on Facebook/Twitter @khalilamani. Youtube @ yahweh 12 Khalilamani@yahoo.com