The hunt for the gay rapper is just about over.
For years in the Hip Hop culture, there has been a witch hunt for “the gay rapper.” (Name your favorite one, & at some point there has been some speculation about his sexual orientation, bitches & hoes be damned.) This proverbial rabbit chase has been going on since the 1990’s, which was arguably the height of rap music’s hyper-masculinity. While we collectively traipsed around in baggy jeans, $200 hiking boots, & extra extra large tee shirts (even the chicks), we – the rap community – assumed that there was a gay rapper hiding somewhere, waiting to be exposed. & if he didn’t do it himself, we’d do it for him.
It was the topic of many discussions over the years, mainly because rap music is immensely homophobic by nature. At times, it even bordered on frightening because actual hate is a powerful ally. The same way we joked about our friends being gay as youngsters – be it right or wrong – we’d tease the next rapper(s) if his style was out of the ordinary. Or if his look was unusual. In those days, the rap cat uniform was simple. & in it, there was no room for tight clothes, bright colors or open-minded thinking. If you exhibited any of these traits, it was possible that you were the gay rapper & the Hip Hop community didn’t need your verification to label you as such. Kinda like being in high school.
Even though rap music is still fairly wet behind it’s ears from a social standpoint, it’s experienced more than it’s share of change. Just like the rest of the world. Part of that change – for me – began within the last year. I encountered two separate, openly gay rap acts online. When I asked a couple of people if they had heard of either act, their respective responses were nonchalant, as if they couldn’t have cared less no matter who I was referring to. I wasn’t surprised by their relaxed reactions to me asking about legitimately gay rappers, but it’s weird to see such a paradigm shift within the culture in just a couple of decades. I definitely don’t expect to see dudes dancing in each others videos any time soon, but like the great George Clinton said, “Free your mind & your ass will follow.”.
In the middle of all this soul searching & sexuality sorting, we have a generation of rappers & singers who have genuinely taken on a ambiguous appearance. Between skinny jeans, hair dye, & various other accessories like murses, manbags, & huge earrings, “finding” a gay rapper has basically become a rap “Where’s Waldo?” Like, “Find the needle in the Hip Hop Haystack,” if there were such a game. Now, by no means am I telling artists what type of costume they should don, but I will say that only women should be wearing tights. The only time that should be excused is if a man joins the Three Musketeers or at Halloween.
For the most part, today’s Hip Hop community is much more open-minded than it was before so much ambiguity began to run rampant. & the final piece of acceptance – for the most part – was President Obama’s support of gay marriage with Jay-Z right behind him to provide the rap world cosign. After that, rap cats from Kendrick Lamar to 50 Cent to T.I have spoken out in “support” of gay marriage. That loosely translates into an open acceptance of the alternative lifestyle in the Hip Hop culture, like it or not.
Homosexuality in Hip Hop has been taboo, like gays in the military, for as long as I can remember. But as the world changes, we – the Hip Hop nation – must also adapt, or again become outcasts in the very society that outcasted Hip Hop to begin with. Societal dominion dictates that those who are unwilling to conform are doomed to be left behind. & thanks to the likes of Sissy Rich, Fly King I, A14F, & others, something tells me that 2013 will be one of rap music’s most interesting years in, um, years.