If there is one part of the industry that is known for its brutal homophobia, it has to be the world of hip-hop. Over the course of thirty years, we have seen some of the biggest stars from that world denounce LGBT in their songs, interviews and whatnot by freely using the F word in many different contexts.
Luckily, the course has shifted to a certain degree over the past couple of years and many gay rappers have emerged within the confines of this industry and have developed a big name for themselves. Even gay-friendly rappers like Macklemore have made a big statement in their support of LGBT, particularly with his big hit "Same Love" with openly gay singer Mary Lambert and his sidekick Ryan Lewis.
It seems like its our time to shine in the hip-hop industry, and these five men and women are paving the footsteps for future generations in hopes that the homophobia in it will become extinct and emcees and rappers will simply be known for the art that they produce. Take a look.
Tony Banks- Born in Brooklyn, New York, this talented rapper and producer is known by his fans as Music Bear. How he describes himself? "If Missy Elliot and LL Cool J had a love child it would be the Music Bear. No six pack but all the swag, moves and confidence." His energetic and upbeat music has delighted fans internationally (see more of that here), and he is poised to become one of the prominent gay rappers and singers in the upcoming years.
When asked about why a gay man hasn't conquered hip-hop as of yet, he had this to say: "There are so many queer male artist in hip-hop making noise nowadays. From gender bending artist like Mykki Blanco and Wallace Wallace to younger artist like Kevin Abstract. But in order for a gay man to conquer hip-hop you need a whole generation to move aside and make room. It may sound morbid, but those who grew up believing gay meant weakness in hip-hop first need to die off and let the rebirth of the culture happen. Gays played such an important role in the birth of hip-hop and continue to this day. We just haven’t gotten public recognition from the hip-hop community, so we are now talking our rightful place in the culture by musical (and artistic) force."
Le1f. Le1f, who also hails from New York, has accomplished quite a lot in the music industry, most notably being a musical guest on The Late Show With David Letterman back in 2014. It was there that he performed his most known song to date, "Wut", off of the popular mixtape "Dark York". This led to his eventual release of his first ever studio album in 2015 called "Riot Boy", which received positive reviews from critics and fans alike.
Young M.A. The Brookly-based 25 year old is unapologetically out of the closet, as a lot of her lyricism reflects on her sexuality and not caring about the judgment she may face in doing so. She scored a massive hit in 2016 with the song "OOOUUU", which became a top 20 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 and made it all the way to number 3 on the Billboard Rap Singles charts. In an interview with Vogue, she was carefree about the possible backlash of her being out, saying "I don’t care what people think,” M.A declares. “Not a care in the world.”
Taylor Bennett. Chance The Rapper's little brother Taylor came out this year as bisexual. He tweeted back in January "My birthday is tomorrow & moving into next year I'd like to be more open about myself to help others that struggle with the same issues," "Growing up I've always felt indifferent about my sexuality & being attracted 2 one sex & today I would like to openly come out to my fans. I do recognize myself as a bisexual male & do & have always openly supported the gay community & will keep doing so in 2017. #ThankYou,". What made this situation even better is that his brother and multiple-Grammy winner Chance tweeted his support, as well as the love he received all over social media.
iLoveMakonnen. The Atlanta-based rapper, who is best known for his number one 2014 single "Tuesday", came out on Twitter earlier this year, similar to what Taylor Bennett had done. The platinum selling rapper had this to say when it came to his sexuality "And since y'all love breaking news, here's some old news to break, I'm gay. And now I've told u about my life, maybe u can go life yours." The news was met with both positive and negative reactions, where the positive outweighed the negative for the most part.
So what are your thoughts, can we finally bring LGBT rappers into the forefront of pop culture?