Hip-hop has always been a genre that is noted for its expression of feelings, experiences, and struggles of the African-American community. Since its inception in the ‘70s, hip-hop has cultivated a reputation for being an authentic and raw form of music that reflects the harsh realities of everyday life.
Now, with the rise of LGBT rap, the hip-hop music scene is experiencing a refreshing approach to telling the stories of the LGBTQ+ community. This phenomenon is slowly gaining momentum with listeners, making it important to discuss and explore the genre of LGBT rap and how it’s changing the landscape of hip-hop.
What is LGBT rap?
Hip-hop is not known for being inclusive or tolerant, with a majority of its history plagued with homophobic and misogynistic lyrics. However, over the years, LGBTQ+ artists have started to emerge and share their experiences in the genre. LGBT rap is a term that is used to describe hip-hop music made specifically by and for people who identify as members of the LGBTQ+ community.
LGBT rap is more about self-expression and storytelling, with a focus on how an individual’s sexuality or gender identity has shaped their experiences rather than just blatant advocacy for LGBTQ+ rights. It’s a genre that’s still in its infancy, but it’s gaining more visibility as people become more accepting of the LGBTQ+ community.
The LGBTQ+ community in hip hop
Hip-hop has had a complicated relationship with the LGBTQ+ community. In the past, members of the community were met with a lot of animosity, with hip-hop’s mainstream stars actively being anti-gay. It wasn’t until the early 2000s that the genre started seeing a subtle shift, with some artists embracing the members of the community.
These days, some of hip-hop’s biggest stars are starting to openly express their support for the community. Hip-hop has become more inclusive and tolerant, which has made it a fertile ground for LGBTQ+ artists to explore and express themselves.
Homo hop and queer hip-hop
Homo hop and queer hip-hop are two subgenres of hip-hop that focus specifically on LGBTQ+ artists, much like how LGBT rap operates. Homo hop emerged in the ‘90s, with artists like Deadlee and Deep Dickollective, who were openly gay and used their music to address issues that affected the LGBTQ+ community. Queer hip-hop, on the other hand, is a more recent term used to describe the genre, with artists using their music to represent and empower themselves and their respective communities.
Both subgenres seek to put LGBTQ+ artists in the forefront of hip-hop, creating a space where their voices can be heard, and their stories can be told.
LGBT rap is slowly changing the hip-hop landscape, making it a more inclusive and diverse genre. It’s a remarkable moment for LGBTQ+ artists, as they can finally find a platform that acknowledges their identity and amplifies their voices.
The rise of homo hop and queer hip-hop has also highlighted the importance of creating spaces for artists where they could freely express themselves. Hip-hop, as a genre, still has a long way to go in terms of inclusivity and tolerance, but it’s clear that the LGBT rap subgenre is making great strides towards acceptance.
What genre does rap fall under?
Hip hop music, also known as rap music or simply rap, is a genre of popular music that originated in the African American communities in the Bronx borough of New York City in the early 1970s. The roots of the genre can be traced back to the African American and Afro-Caribbean communities of New York City, who were looking for ways to express themselves through music and dance.
In the early days of the genre, rap music was often performed in block parties and other social gatherings. The lyrics were typically improvised and centered around themes of African American culture, social commentary, and personal experiences. The music borrowed heavily from funk, soul, and disco, as well as from the Jamaican musical style known as toasting.
Over time, rap music became a commercially viable form of popular music, enjoyed by people from all backgrounds around the world. Today, the genre encompasses a wide range of sub-genres and styles, including gangsta rap, conscious rap, trap, and drill. It has also influenced other genres of music, such as R&B, pop, and rock.
Despite its commercial success and mainstream appeal, rap music has also been the subject of controversy and criticism. Some have accused the genre of promoting violence, misogyny, and materialism, while others have praised it for providing a powerful voice for marginalized communities and social justice issues.
Rap music is a complex and multifaceted genre that continues to evolve and change over time. It has had a profound impact on popular music and culture, and its influence is likely to continue for many years to come.
What is queer genre?
The term “queer” has been used by the LGBTQ+ community as a reclamation of a once-derogatory word and now serves as an umbrella term for non-heterosexual and non-cisgender identities. Queer literature, therefore, explores sexuality and gender identity in ways that are fluid and expansive, unafraid to subvert and challenge traditional binaries.
Queer literature has a long history, dating back to works like Radclyffe Hall’s 1928 novel “The Well of Loneliness” and Edmund White’s 1982 novel “A Boy’s Own Story”. However, it wasn’t until the 1990s that “queer theory” gained traction, leading to more scholars and writers studying and writing about the subject of queer identity and experience.
Today, queer literature is a thriving genre with a diverse range of works. These works move beyond the coming-out narrative that dominated queer literature in previous decades, exploring intersections of race, class, ability, and religion. They are often highly political works, examining themes of oppression, violence, and resistance.
Queer literature has also proved to be a valuable tool for representation and awareness within the LGBTQ+ community. Books like “Stone Butch Blues” by Leslie Feinberg and “Black on Both Sides” by C. Riley Snorton offer liberating and transformative accounts of queer experiences while serving as mirrors for readers who often lack LGBTQ+ role models and representation.
Queer literature, like any genre, is not a monolith. The experiences, themes, and identities explored in queer literature are as diverse and varied as the LGBTQ+ community itself. However, at its core, queer literature is about representation, articulation, and expression of queer identities and experiences that defy convention and normalize queer experience.
Who is the first Lgbtq rapper?
The history of LGBTQ representation in the music industry, especially in the hip-hop genre, has been scarce due to the genre’s historically heteronormative and homophobic attitudes. However, there have been pioneers who broke barriers and paved the way for the acceptance and representation of LGBTQ artists in the industry.
One of the first openly gay rappers to surface in the United States is Caushun. Caushun was born Jason Herndon in 1977 and started his career in the late 1990s. He gained a following after competing in rap battles and releasing mixtapes. In 2000, Caushun signed with Jive Records, one of the major record labels at the time, and was marketed as the first openly gay rapper signed to a major label.
Caushun’s music was embraced by the LGBTQ community and received some mainstream attention. However, despite his groundbreaking achievement, Caushun’s career did not take off and he was eventually dropped by Jive Records. It was suggested that his explicit lyrics and emphasis on his sexuality could have led to his disinterest in the mainstream music industry.
While Caushun’s career was short-lived, he paved the way for other LGBTQ rappers to follow and be more accepted in the industry. In the following years, other openly queer rappers emerged such as Cakes Da Killa, Mykki Blanco, and Le1f. Today, we see more representation of LGBTQ artists in the music industry, which can be attributed to the achievements of the pioneers who broke barriers and paved the way for the acceptance and representation of LGBTQ artists in the industry.