Blog #2: Homosexuality in Hip Hop
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: