Lil Nas X and the history of gay hip-hop

Originally published at: Lil Nas X and the history of gay hip-hop | Boing Boing

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You know why I like Lil Nas X? He isn’t a homophobic misogynist. I like the sound of hip-hop but I can’t stand the assault of misogyny in the lyrics of so many songs. So I stopped listening for a very long time except for some female artists. Then along comes Lil Nas X and his big “fuck all you homophobes” videos.
I for one welcome our new flamboyantly gay hip-hop overlord.


There are plenty of straight rappers who aren’t misogynists, though… RTJ is pretty good about celebrating their women rather than objectifying them, for one. Also… all the women, who aren’t too few in fact.


I’ll have to check out RTJ. I gave up on hip-hop before it was really easy to check out single songs or artists on the internet. Either buying an album or wading through what was on the radio. Then just never really went looking again, except for female artists I happened across. Part dispirited and part lazy


That’s a good premise for a gay hip-hop song by Randy Rainbow. I’m going to roll it into his in-box [pun intended].


Sean Flanagan Guitar GIF by FoilArmsandHog

Hip-hop in the 90s on MTV was dominated by the West coast gangsta rap, which tended to have that problem more than the older school east coast scene, which seemed more dominated by political rappers.

Speaking of RTJ… this is a very NSFW song about sex by RTJ with Gangsta Boo…

You’d think from the refrain it would be kind of misogynistic, but really it’s a love letter to their partners… until you get to the twist ending… I had never seen the video, tho… hilarious…

But we’re off-topic, I guess… how about some Big Freedia… which is totes on topic… also, NSFW… because, you know BIG FREEDIA…

Anyways, @noahdjango can probably discuss this issue in more depth than me… he’s much more of a hip hop head than me.




I second Run the Jewels. Though it was the DJ Shadow song they rapped in that finally brought me into the fold, I got RTJ 3 first and went back in time and got the first 2, and still need to get 4 on CD but listened to it on youtube.

Killer Mike and El P (as well as DJ Shadow) are all in their 40s so the fact they are making sounds that appeal to me isn’t too surprising.

I dip my toe into rap. Oddly or not so oddly, since I like a lot of UK Big Beat and house, I like a lot of times when those bands produce the music and then get a European or US rapper to rap to the lyrics. Some of my favorite raps songs are sort of one offs where there isn’t a full album of work but one or maybe two examples of collaborations. An UK rappers in general had more UK House beats and loops than what was in the US. (Two of my favorite examples below, though I believe Silver Bullet was a UK Hip-Hop artist, Jakk Frost guests on Overseer’s album.)

Of course I miss the late 80s early 90s “golden age” of hiphop where it was more of a poppy “having fun and partying” feel before realism injected itself into the art and everyone felt like they now had to be hard. This often had really awkward transitions where the guy who was dancing across your music video in colorful suits is now rapping about how hard the streets were. It wasn’t very authentic and kinda embarrassing sometimes. Though it worked sometimes, like with LL Cool J. And I do like some of the “gangster rap” era as well. It’s a genre where I like what I like and the rest is just meh.

And yes, definitely enough room for gay hip-hop. I have to think that the above mentioned shift in rap music in tone and mood is where rappers doubled down on toxic masculinity, which means being more outwardly homophobic and misogynist. Empathy or considering someone else as your equal is weakness. :confused:

Oh and speaking of woman rap groups - anyone remember JJ Fad? Super cheesy in retrospect, but I always liked it.

Anyway - promised examples:
Robocop samples make this


I’m an old gay man and never got into hip hop past anything mainstream and probably leaning more Gorillaz trip hop shit. I’m not going to lie, the first time hearing and seeing the video Sun Goes Down I cried. It’s the sort of voice I wish I could have heard growing up that were really not there. I came of age during the AIDS crisis and never saw a real queer voice in the media and so I just put my sexuality on a shelf and ignored it.

Really glad there is a newer generation that not only has voices like this but also an older generation to explain what came before. None of this GenX being left out in the cold shit.


Damn, beat me to it. Still, who can’t get enough BIG FREEDIA? ME…that’s who!

I still love the song that put her on the map…


“Matter of fact, my favorite new rapper is gay. Fuck that. My favorite new rapper sucks dick … and he’s proud of it.”

You had to make it clear that he’s proud of it? As opposed to what?

That’s a real gay ally right there, LOL.

What’s wrong with sucking dick?


The question “Does Gay Rap Have a Right to Exist?” sounds homophobic to me. Of course it has a right to exist.

But I haven’t watched the video yet.

You gotta hear Murs say it in the video. It’s obvious he’s not actually comfortable with gay men.

Which he said right the fuck up front - he didn’t proclaim himself “an ally” and then deny that gay people should be a part of hip hop. He was honest about his own discomfort with the LGBQT+ community, which seems far better to me than pretending and then acting out a greater level of bigotry as a result.

Ultimately, he argued that gay hip-hop has every right to exist, because hip hop is a music of marginalized people - and that is true even if straight people in hip hop are uncomfortable with it.

Maybe do that, because that’s his conclusion. :woman_shrugging:


I have always loved the beats and some of the rhymes of hip-hop. In time honored parenting tradition I’ve had to draw the line with some of what my kid chooses to listen to, no matter how much talent may be on display. We’ve had the talk since he was little - listen to whatever you want, but I don’t hold with or tolerate homophobic or sexist/degrading to women stuff.

The n-word is a difficult one because I understand how and why it is used so heavily in hip hop, and the cultural context for it. What my kid seems to struggle with is how that same cultural context means that we, a couple of white dudes in small town Canada, really should not be rolling through town with the windows down and blasting the n-word out into the world. Just not a good look at all.


Anti-Betteridge if I ever saw it…

And he’s obviously working on removing that discomfort, which I think is a good thing.


Ok got to listen to it. I liked the video.

So, it was a little different in that instead of just sort of talking about something from an objective standpoint, he was talking about it from his view point and how he changed his initial attitudes. Which I think makes a good example that will end up persuading some people. If one already respected/listened to this guy or felt some kinship on some level, and feel like he did at one point, listening to his journey might prompt some people to take their own. Expand their horizons.

I did find it pretty ironic that a line shocked him into literally jaw dropping considering all things. I think the first time that happened to me was someone who brought a 2 Live Crew tape to class. But now vulgarity like that is commonplace, even blase. So too will gay references in rap, I imagine.

Also when listening it jogged my memory that DJ Hi-Tek of Die Antwoord is gay and has rapped on their albums. And nerdcore rapper mc chris of Fett’s Vette fame came out as bi a few years ago.

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Kenan Thompson Reaction GIF by Saturday Night Live

We live in a society shot through with all sorts of bigotry that we all learn to accept and enact… pushing ourselves to undo our own internalized bigotry is better than pretending like it’s not a problem… It’s far better to start out bigoted and learn to be better than it is to pretend like there isn’t a problem and continue to spread bigotry in the world… The truth is that none of us is free from holding or having held a bigoted viewpoint some time in our life. But hopefully, we learn and improve.