Gay Culture In Hip Hop

An interesting new trend in hip hop.


From Wiki Commons

By Travis Moore, Staff Writer

Homosexuality has been shunned by a lot of the hip hop community for a very long time. Gay slurs riddle some of the genre’s most iconic artists discography, but an interesting trend has been taking place in hip hop. More and more gay and lesbian rappers are becoming more commonplace in the hip hop market place.

One of the biggest figurehead in this movement has been Kevin Abstract, the founding member of self-proclaimed “Boyband” Brockhampton. When Kevin came out in 2016 he said he’ll rap about being gay as long as he can imagine a fan in need of a voice. About being a gay rapper, he told BBC, “I don’t want to be labelled as ‘queer rapper’, I just want to be a rapper”. Many of his lyrics contain references to sexual encounters with other men, just like how many straight artists talk about their encounters with members of the opposite sex. Not all of Brockhampton’s members are gay, but they’ve gained a large following in the LGBTQ community because many feel that they’re representing a side of hip hop that many artists have been scared to explore. Of course Kevin Abstract isn’t the only rapper who talks about being attracted to the same sex.

I don’t want to be labelled as ‘queer rapper’, I just want to be a rapper”

— Kevin Abstract talking to BBC

In Tyler, The Creator’s latest album he talks about how he’s “been kissing white boys since 2004”, and makes several references to being attracted to men (although he hasn’t come out as gay). A lot of Tyler’s music was very angry and violent before his latest album, and many believe that’s because he’s finally started talking about his sexuality, and stopped repressing it. More and more black gay teens are growing up listening to artists that they can relate to. This is a very exciting time in music history.

Recently, hip hop legend Eminem was faced with backlash after calling Tyler a gay slur on his latest album kamikaze. This really shows hip hop’s trend towards being a safer space for gay artists. Like, on Nas’ Illmatic (one of the greatest albums ever created), Nas uses the exact same slur, but was met with little to no criticism for his use of the slur. Nas wasn’t the only one either, gay slurs used to be commonplace in hip hop. It’s nice that a community that shunned homosexuality for so long is becoming more socially conscience about gay issues.

Still there is push back against the growing trend of homosexuals in hip hop. Just check any rap genius forum about a gay artist, and you’re bound to find plenty of push back. Many claim that the lyrics about same sex relationships “make them uncomfortable”, which doesn’t really make much sense. Almost all rappers talk about their sexual exploits with women, but when it’s about another man, it’s weird? That doesn’t make much sense to me at least.