Hip-hop/Spirituality/Freethinking. Speaking for all underdogs!
A Gay Rapper is Comin'! Bet Dat!
By Khalil Amani
Fox TV's smash hit, "Empire" has put homosexuality within hip-hop on front-street. In the season's finale, one of Empire's signed rappers takes a stance against homosexuality by deserting the company, because it is now being lead by the gay character/singer, Lucious Lyon's gay son Jamal. He wants no part of a gay-owned hip-hop company.
Like many of us, Empire's homophobic rapper couldn't fathom the thought of anything to do with gayness being attached to hip-hop/rap (even though there's at least one gay pioneer in the advent of rap). Culturally brainwashed to view homosexuality as less than manly, less than masculine, this rapper would rather vacate employment than to have his name and reputation associated with homosexuality. Rappers like Young Thug (and Daylyt) have pushed the effeminate/gay envelope right through hip-hop's front door while maintaining their heterosexuality.
But ah! Lurking on the periphery of the mainstream hip-hop/rap world—“Homo-hop,” “Out Hip-hop,” “Gay Hip-hop” or just plain ol’ “Fag rap” is banging on the door and demanding to be heard! Gay rappers like @Kaoz612, @Lasto, @Medino_Green, @MontezLove, @BryNtMusic, @SonnyLewisdaMC and @Boneintell are killing the gay hip-hop game and ripping to shreds the notion that a gay rapper is soft, effeminate, flaming, and bitch-made! The stereotype that gay rappers are all a bunch of flaming fa#*ots is being hotly contested by Out/Gay hip-hop’s finest!
Gay rapper Kaoz @Kaoz612--Better than 98.3% of the rappers you know!
Some may not like the fact that gays and lesbians are entertaining the idea of mainstream hip-hop/rap acceptance. It is hip-hop’s final frontier—a gay rapper being accepted as a credible, marketable lyricist. It is also hip-hop’s chance to live out its true meaning—that is; a voice to the voiceless, an all-inclusive genre, which transcends race, religion, creed, gender, socio-economic status, and sexual orientation—our founding fathers’ utopian idea of “real” hip-hop!
They ask, “Why Gay Hip-Hop?” In a utopian world, there would be no need for such labels as “gay hip-hop.” Hip-hop is hip-hop! Ya heard me?
You homophobic hip-hop rap heads sound just like white folks sounded forty years ago when the day came for integration and they had to “allow” black folk to eat in the same restaurant and drink out of the same water fountain and s#*t in the same toilet! Listen to yourselves! They thought that our black skin was gonna rub off on them or we got some different kind of germs that were unheard of in white people. Some of y’all think there’s a “gay” germ or you’re gonna turn gay or someone might mistaken you for gay.
And for some of you, you get super-religious! All-of-a-sudden the Bible’s condemnation becomes the focal point for you being an ass-backwards hypocritical jerk! Ain’t been to church or ever read the Bible, but you know what it has to say about gay people! SMH.
We, hip-hop heterosexual males think we’re the baddest S.O.B.’s walking the earth! We think we can’t be touched—especially by some gay dude. Oh hell no! We’ve learned nothing from the deaths of Tupac, Biggie, Big L, Jam Master Jay, Soldier Slim, Freaky Tah, Mac Dre, Proof, Big Hawk, Izzy Ramirez, Philant Johnson and Stack Bundles. Black men are dying all over America over some bulls#*t! We’re still beefing over bulls#*t! Many black men don’t give a damn about the next black man, so you know they give no f#*ks about a homosexual man. “Effin’ faggot! Eat a dick!” We’re comfortable in our homophobia, so much so, that we freely use the words homo and fag on our rap albums.
I think it's safe to say that somewhere between 2Chainz and Trinidad James (no diss to them!) we can fit in a gay rapper or two. Not mention all the kilts, skirts, and jeggings in hip-hop. Hip-hop is on that "Blurred Lines" ish. (No Robin Thicke)
Hip-hop was born out of poverty—out of powerlessness—out of voicelessness. When N.W.A. came on the scene, no one asked, “Why gangsta rap?” And if they did, it didn’t matter. Gangsta rap didn’t give a damn about what mainstream America (or other genres of rap) thought about its misogynistic and gangster lyrics. When “Freaknic rap” (as rapped by the likes of Two-Live Crew) came on the scene, there wasn’t a backlash from within the hip-hop community over the way they portrayed women. The government may have had problems with what they were rapping about, but they couldn’t stop that Freedom of Speech train they were riding.
So, I ask, “Why not gay hip-hop?” If…if… if gay Liberace can prance around in diamonds and furs and let his well-manicured fingers stroke the keys of the piano playing CLASSICAL music and sell millions of records and sell out Vegas—If gay Little Richard, the self-proclaimed “Architect of ROCK & ROLL” can woo black and white audiences with Tutti Fruiti and Long Tall Sally all the way to the bank—If gay Freddy Mercury and Queen can sing We Are The Champions and Bohemian Rhapsody (arguably one of the greatest rock songs ever) and still not damage the persona of ROCK—If gay Elton John can be a force in ROCK, POP and SOUL singing Bennie and the Jets—If gay Sylvester can sing DISCO and have all the straight bell-bottom wearing men doing the bump—If gay gender-bending Boy George can wear a face prettier than most women and still garner mainstream attention singing POP—If gay George Michaels can sing R&B and not shame the genre—If gay cross-dressing Rupaul can have a top 40 record on the radio—If Madonna can introduce a record and a dance called Vogue, which was created by homosexual men and make it a dance craze—If “ex-gay” Donnie McClurkin can put a Band-Aid (religion) on his (homo)-sexuality and sell millions of GOSPEL records along with feminine-acting Dr. Bobby Jones—then why the can’t we have a GAY “gayngsta” Tupac-esque RAPPER named Deadlee?
Why does gay rap have to stay as a subculture of a subculture? Let’s keep it “historically” real! Gay people have influenced hip-hop no matter how homophobic we are and no matter how we feign ignorance of the homo-paradigm!
In-the-closet gay/flamboyant Liberace was such a brilliant musician and entertainer that many in the hetero rap world are on his jock! Dr. Dre, in his song, California Love rapped, “Diamonds shinin’, lookin’ like I robbed Liberace….” Mannie Fresh rapped, “The ring I got, Liberace want it. He couldn’t afford that shit, but I can afford to flaunt it!” Other straight rappers have paid homage to Liberace through their lyrics—Juvenile, Baby, 50 Cent (Hustler’s Ambition), Kid Rock (American Bad Ass), G-Unit (Stunt 101), Eminem (Criminal), D12 (Fight Music), Big Pun (It’s So Hard), Lil Wayne (We Fly High-remix), Clipse (Mr. Me Too), Lil Flip (alias Fliporace), Rugged Intellect (All Fair). Don’t tell me that gay artists haven’t influenced hip-hop! Are rappers the first to make it fashionable to wear excessive jewelry? No! Gay Liberace did! Was Cam’ron the first to wear pink fur? No! Gay Liberace wore furs down to the floor!
Liberace and his musical son, Elton John—they are the undisputed bling-bling kings—the original stunnas! Lil Jon might be in the Guinness World Book of Records for the biggest pendant, but he’s just a copier of something a gay man started before he was born! All of your clothing lines, your pink furs, your virgin chinchilla spreads, your outrageous jewelry, your stunna shades (see Elton John’s album covers circa 1972-‘74), your ostentatious show of wealth—gay, feminine! I didn’t create the paradigm. I’m just showing you where hetero rappers have bitten off their sense of style from—gay men!
Every genre of music has gay and lesbian artists—from gay classical musical composer Tchaikovsky to blues singing lesbian Ma Rainey. Check your music history pimpin’! And then… and then! Here comes the infant of musical genres… rap music frontin’ like a gay person ain’t got no place or business in this particular genre of music! Get the f#*k outta here with that s#*t! The same genre of music that talks about the underdog, the impoverished, the voiceless, the disenchanted, the disenfranchised, the marginalized, the ‘hood, the ghetto, keepin’ it real… the dregs of American society! Yeah, rap music has been around for 30+ years, but that ain’t shit on the world stage of musical history! Humankind has been making music for more than 8,000 years! Can you dig that? Rap is still in the womb of the universal language—music! Rap is in its first trimester and can still be aborted like an unwanted fetus at the murder clinic if we don’t get it right! Can you say DISCO? Four hundred years from now, when your favorite rapper is taking a dirt nap (dead), will they know about Rakim, Run DMC, LL Cool J, Public Enemy, Dr. Dre, Jay-Z, Nas, 50 Cent, Common, Tupac, Biggie Smalls, Outkast and Snoop Dogg like we know about Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Liszt, Rachmaninov, Handel, Mendelssohn, Stravinsky, Hayden and Shubert? Four hundred years from now will Nas’ Illmatic be as relevant as Handel’s Messiah is today? Will Rakim’s Follow The Leader be as compelling as Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony?
This will be the test of the rap genre! Longevity and universal respect and recognition! Or will rap music find itself being relegated to an obscure footnote in the annals of musical history? This is a question for the gatekeepers/vanguard/aficionados of hip-hop/rap to ponder. Most hip-hop heads can’t see that far into the future, so naturally homo-hop is not even considered a relevant discussion in the narrow-minded here-and-now world of heterosexualism. But I’m raising the bar of hip-hop consciousness and treading on uncharted ground, which the most progressive hetero rapper dare not go!
It’s okay to call black women “bitches & hoes,” but don’t let those gay people tell their stories! It’s okay for the ‘hood man to rap about his days as a D-boy/snowman (drug dealer) and all of the criminality of “trapping,” but those gay rappers gotta go? It’s okay for rappers to tell us how they are f#*king the be-Jesus out of our daughters, but don’t let those fags rap about man love! It’s okay to slide credit cards up black women’s ass-cracks ala Nelly, but goddamnit, those homos got no business in hip-hop! It doesn’t matter that we break many biblical laws, so long as we don’t break the law condemning homosexuality! Damn we’re some ignorant cusses! Come on hip-hop! Stand the fuck up!
Alas! As we watch Empire deal with homosexuality in the music industry we should recognize that hip-hop/rap music is a microcosm of our larger society's collective homophobia. Perhaps this show will teach us a thing or two about ourselves. I've lived long enough to see a black man become the president, so I'm hoping to live long enough to see a true, bona fide gay rap star that can hold his own with the best of 'em--a real gully, gangsta gay rapper that will fight or f#*k your favorite rapper! One thing is for sure; a gay rapper is coming to mainstream! Expect it like you expect Jesus! What the game's been missing! One.
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