Queer/Race

Blog #2: Homosexuality in Hip Hop

Posted in Uncategorized by graylielane on March 6, 2010

Drugs, sex and violence have always been synonymous with the hip hop community.  The harder the look, huskier the voice and the longer the prison sentence, the better the rapper.  Most rappers have adopted an almost homophobic attitude.  Some mainstream rappers, including those such as Eminem, have used anti-gay lyrics in their music.  Prior to a novel by Terrence Dean implicating several members of the rap community, the thought of a homosexual rapper, especially a male was unheard of.  Dean’s book, while not specifically naming artists, speaks about several wild parties where men would have sex with other men.  In some cases Dean even explains full on homosexual relationships where the entertainers would often buy expensive gifts for their same-sex lovers.  Thus begging the question, if everyone’s doing it, why must homosexual sex be so taboo in rap?

I believe that the answer lies in the long running association of homosexuality with femininity.  Records don’t get sold if the artists isn’t talking about murdering someone else or sleeping with their girlfriend (to refrain from using the more widely known term “bitch”).  Rappers must devalue everything without a dollar sign beside it.

Perhaps the answer lies in the fact that homosexual relationships, as confirmed by Juan from our previous readings, imply a sort of dominance.  Rappers must always be the dominators, thus they cannot be on the receiving end of the stick (pardon the pun).   The willingness to accept the homosexuality of women in hip hop also contributes to the idea of dominance as a factor.  It seems that a lesbian rapper would be hip hop’s ideal.  A female rapper can maintain her rough exterior and dominant another female while at the same time providing entertain for males who enjoy lesbian interactions.

DMX is one of the “hardest” rappers in the business, from his husky voice to his vicious poses he embodies what it means to be a “gangster rapper.”  In several of lyrics he mentions that haters can suck his dick or something to that effect.  This implies a sort of dominance over the individual performing the act.  He puts himself in a place of esteem in which the person performing the act must work to please him.  This creates for him a sense of dominance over that person.  DMX is one of many rappers who use the same line in their music eluding to potential homosexual relationships.  While some argue that oral sex does not have to be deemed homosexual or pass it off as “just a lyric” perhaps it hints at something greater.  Perhaps, as long as one has established themselves as a “gangster rapper” they can allow their image to override their lyrics.  Or perhaps there is hidden homosexuality in even the “hardest” of men.

Are there some openly gay rappers? Yes, that’s why this post exists.  Rappers such as Deadlee, openly gay (and flamingly so), are left behind.  Perhaps in fear that they will reveal was Terrence Dean ‘s book also reveals: rap isn’t as hard as it portrays to be.  A rapper not subject to the constraints of making oneself seem harder than the rapper before him is unfathomable.  Next thing you know rap becomes about homosexual relationships.  Eventually rapper might, God forbid, have to expand their vocabulary past derogatory words towards women, African American and…well everyone else.

Links for Further Reading:

Outing Hip Hop

Homo Thugs

Hidden gay life of macho hip hop stars

Gay Rappers Too Real for Hip Hop?

Guess Who’s Gay in Hip Hop

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9 Responses

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  1. dpayton2 said, on March 11, 2010 at 5:54 pm

    Anti-gay sentiments in rap certainly do pose a problem for the hip-hop community. The sentiments fall in line with what most Americans believe hip-hop should be, but it costs homosexuals their respect. Many rappers do incorporate extremely masculine sentiments that assert their dominance over females or society as a whole. Many rappers feel the need to spread their thoughts and their strength over anyone they come in contact with, especially fellow rappers who pose threats to them or challenge them in any way.

  2. […] Blog #2: Homosexuality in Hip Hop « Queer/Race "DMX is one of the “hardest” rappers in the business, from his husky voice to his vicious poses he embodies what it means to be a “gangster rapper.” In several of lyrics he mentions that haters can suck his dick or something to that effect. This implies a sort of dominance over the individual performing the act. He puts himself in a place of esteem in which the person performing the act must work to please him. This creates for him a sense of dominance over that person. DMX is one of many rappers who use the same line in their music eluding to potential homosexual relationships. While some argue that oral sex does not have to be deemed homosexual or pass it off as “just a lyric” perhaps it hints at something greater. Perhaps, as long as one has established themselves as a “gangster rapper” they can allow their image to override their lyrics. Or perhaps there is hidden homosexuality in even the “hardest” of men." (tags: race gender rap sex sexuality GLTBQ hiphop) Share and Enjoy: […]

  3. Kandeezie said, on March 26, 2010 at 6:12 pm

    I think it’s about sexism and hegemonic masculinity (plus black male hypersexuality). They are essentially saying that their power is so great, they can reduce you to the status of women in this society, in the same ways that feelings of white superiority will have someone use a derogatory racial term to indicate that the target is of subhuman status. Woman as subhuman is a common theme in our society.

  4. Josh Matthews said, on March 26, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    “Or perhaps there is hidden homosexuality in even the “hardest” of men.”

    If this is true, DMX is doing a crapload of posturing. At least one of his songs is a straight-up four minute hate-on about homosexuality, rappers, and the intersection thereof.

  5. karinova said, on March 28, 2010 at 6:37 am

    Just remember who controls the rap industry, and who consumes most of the product.

    (Hint: straight white people.)

  6. mario239303 said, on March 29, 2010 at 9:54 am

    i’m sorry but this is total bollocks

  7. bblurbs said, on April 7, 2010 at 3:57 am

    I absolutely love this topic. I actually wrote a paper about this last year for a class for Prof. Macharia’s class. Interestingly enough, after watching a few great documentaries on Hip Hop and sexuality, as well as reading some books, I found that Hip Hop as a culture is pretty homophobic. It’s difficult for you to find rappers like Deadlee who are rappers, who are still considered masculine, but gay. In Hip Hop, it seems that masculinity and homosexuality do not coexist.

    Here’s a well known rapper, Busta Rhyme’s reaction after being asked about homosexual rappers for one of my favorite documentaries:

    But when filmmaker Byron Hurt asks Busta about homophobia in hip-hop, the rapper goes quiet.

    “I can’t partake in that conversation,” he demurs. “With all due respect, I ain’t trying to offend nobody. . . . What I represent culturally doesn’t condone [homosexuality] whatsoever.” When asked if a gay rapper could ever be accepted in hip-hop culture, Busta walks out of the room.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/19/AR2007021901224.html

    The extreme Homophobia in Hip Hop is definitely saying a number of things about the culture. What do you guys think?

  8. Lukmon Babajide said, on September 27, 2012 at 7:57 pm

    Hi, my name is Lukmon Babajide and I am a senior sociology major at Davidson College. I am excited to be conducting research on how queer men navigate within the realm of hip hop. I find this topic to be both intriguing and beneficial to the larger society. I feel that my research will allow queer men to give honest accounts of their experiences navigating through the realm of hip hop. I am confident that those active in my research will have a rewarding experience. If you identify as some type of queer man (not straight) and participate within the realm of hip hop (which can be anywhere from aspiring artist to just a big fan of the genre) then you are eligible. If you have about 45 minutes to an hour of free time and would like to partake in this beneficial research, feel free to contact me. My contact information is as follows: cellphone-(713)8596983 email-lubabajide@davidson.edu. Thanks!!


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