From A$AP to Jay Z: 15 hip-hop stars who think homophobes are mothaf*ckas
15 LGBT artists and allies disprove the stereotype that the rap industry is homophobic.
Hip-hop music can sometimes be regarded as an overtly masculine and competitive scene.
In the past, being a female rapper or identifying as LGBT has been judged as a weakness.
With derogatory or crude slurs appearing throughout rap verses, it can be difficult to discern LGBT allies from the rest of the industry.
Azealia Banks, who identifies as bisexual, is known for her excessive use of the word “faggots”- particularly on social media.
She defends her behaviour as acceptable because of her sexual orientation and is quoted, saying: “even if i am a homophobe… so wat? [sic] i still make more $ than u”.
Additionally, Eminem has a long-standing history of offending both the LGBT community and women, although he claims not to be homophobic or transphobic.
Recently, in light of Caitlyn Jenner’s public transition, he wrote a verse, saying: “I invented prick, and that’s a true statement, I see the bitch in you, Caitlyn / I keep the pistol tucked like Bruce Jenner’s dick”.
Other artists, such as Chris Brown and Iggy Azalea, also exhibit anti-LGBT sentiments.
However, the scene is becoming more progressive because of those willing to speak out in support of the LGBT community.
Many rappers have denounced their previously expressed homophobia and apologised for their ignorance on the issue, accepting the advancement in hip-hop.
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A$AP Rocky, who hails from Harlem in New York City, has publicly condemned homophobes during his hip-hop career.
“It’s 2013, and it’s a shame that, to this day, that topic still gets people all excited. It’s crazy.
“And it makes me upset that this topic even matters when it comes to hip-hop, because it makes it seem like everybody in hip-hop is small-minded or stupid—and that’s not the case. . .
“I treat everybody equal, and so I want to be sure that my listeners and my followers do the same if they’re gonna represent me.”
Arguably among the more popular of his hip-hop group- the A$AP Mob- the 26-year-old is known for his intense musical vibe.
A$AP Rocky has been accused on social media of being gay in the past by bisexual rapper Azealia Banks, whose Twitter account has been recently suspended.
While the gossip spread by the controversial artist was false, A$AP Rocky is not entirely comfortable being in the limelight as an iconic LGBT ally yet.
He presented at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards onstage alongside out gay NBA player Jason Collins, but was noted to seem awkward throughout the appearance.
Afterward, A$AP Rocky made a public apology, saying: “I’m mad that my facial expressions was like that because I’m not homophobic at all, and that whole thing just came off real homophobic. . .
“There’s people out there that think I was doing that to be funny, and truthfully I got gay people in my family.
“I don’t give a f*** if you gay or you not, I just found it odd that MTV wanted to stand me next to this n**** when they are talking about gay people, that’s all.”
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Detroit native Angel Haze has been present in the American rap scene since 2012.
The agender 23-year-old has expressed their preference for gender-neutral pronouns.
While they are discreet about their sexuality, Angel Haze has written on Noisey: Music by Vice about the issue before, saying: “Being gay in hip-hop is still really stigmatised. . .
“I guess I’m ‘out’ but people ask me what my sexuality is all the time and I always tell them that it doesn’t matter, we’re not in a sexual situation so you don’t need to know.
“If we were in a sexual situation you would know exactly who I am sexually. . .
“Sexuality is not the most interesting detail about a person.”
They released a song entitled “Same Love” for their LGBT fans- some of whom have confided their struggles with their sexualities to Angel Haze.
They said: “Why would you wish to be anything other than who the f*** you are.
“Who are all these people to say you shouldn’t be gay and you’ll burn in hell. . .
“I do believe that for people who are gay or bisexual or whatever, it’s not something you plan yourself, and if it’s natural why deny yourself; never deny yourself anything that makes you feel happy.”
They described in the same piece, “Some Rappers Are Gay. Get Over It.”, that their support system was basically non-existent in their youth.
They said: “A lot of my friends basically said, ‘bisexual people are disgusting, you don’t know what you want.’
“My family was the hardest, my mom said I was going to burn in hell.”
Identifying as pansexual, they dated Ireland Baldwin the same year.
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Childish Gambino, born Donald Glover, approaches the callous hip-hop industry with a softer touch and profound lyrics.
His degree in dramatic writing from NYU may contribute to his approach.
The 31-year-old’s alternative and expressive music style has often sparked hearsay that Childish Gambino might be bisexual or gay.
Open-minded, he embraces it, saying in one song: “Black dudes assume I’m closeted or kinda gay.”
His interview with the Breakfast Club led him to confess that he’s not sure if he’s gay or not.
In another song, he raps ambiguously, saying: “Yes, I’m a G, from the A and they ask why.”
While some believe the lyric is his coming out, others debate that Childish Gambino means that he claims to be a “gangsta” from Atlanta.
In his 25-minute short film, “Clapping for the Wrong Reasons,” he highlights his memory of his kiss with another young man.
While he claims that the video has “no point”, he says: “I fully expected people to be like, ‘F*** this movie, it sucks. F*** this guy, he’s pretentious.’
“But I just said f*** it, let me tell the story of how one time I kissed a boy.
“Am I gay? I don’t know, maybe.”
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From the South Side of Chicago, Common’s rap career was sparked in the mid-1990s.
However, the 43-year-old changed his former uninformed stance towards the LGBT community and same-sex marriage.
When his fans confronted him about it, he said: “They was like, ‘Why you keep disrespecting homosexuality?’
“I thought about it. I ain’t here to judge ’em, so I just decided not to approach it like that. . .
“I took out some words on my (new) album after that, because I wanted to show a step for myself toward improving on certain things.”
He’s been involved in social issues throughout his life, such as contributing to an album meant to inform listeners about the AIDS risk for African-American men and supporting animal rights.
In his 2002 song, “Between Me, You & Liberation,” verse three describes the struggle of his young gay friend coming out to him, saying:
“He spoke with his eyes, tear-filled . . .
“This ain’t the way that men feel
“A feeling, he said he wish he could kill. . .
“For it to happen to someone close to me?
“So far we’d come, for him to tell me
“As he did, insecurity held me
“I felt like he failed me. . .
“Never knew it would turn out like this
“For so long he tried to fight this
“Now there was no way for him to ignore it
“His parents found out and hated him for it
“How could I judge him? Had to accept him if I truly loved him
“No longer he said had he hated himself
“Through sexuality he liberated himself between me and you.”
Since then, Common has promised to not rap with homophobic slurs.
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44-year-old Fat Joe hails from New York City and has been rapping since 1993.
In an interview with VLADTV, he said: “Yeah, I think I’ve done songs with gay rappers. I’m pretty sure of that.
“I’m pretty sure the football n****s is gay, the basketball n****s is- n****s is gay. . .
“I’m a fan of ‘yo, I’m gay’. What the f***? Like, 2011, you gotta hide that you’re gay? Be real. . .
“If you gay, you gay. That’s your preference. You know, f*** it if the people don’t like it.”
Fat Joe represents another minority in the US fighting for equality- the Latino community.
In particular, though, his interview is noteworthy because he mentions the “gay mafia” in the hip-hop scene.
He said: “It’s the greatest gay market in the world. . . The hip-hop community is most likely owned by gay, to be honest with you. . .
“I happen to think there’s a gay mafia in hip-hop. . . They are in power.
“So, why wouldn’t a guy come out and say, ‘yo, I’m gay,’ and get that type of love?”
A controversy within the rap music industry involved Mister Cee, a 48-year-old DJ who was charged with loitering for his attempted involvement with a transgender prostitute.
While many ostracised Mister Cee when the news hit the public, Fat Joe said: “Whatever his preference is, it’s up to him. . .
“I ain’t here to tell nobody what they do- what’s right or what’s wrong.”
However, Mister Cee denied his orientation ever straying from heterosexuality.
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27-year-old gay R&B artist Frank Ocean grew up in the “deep South” of New Orleans, Louisiana.
In the middle of his career, he decided to come out publicly.
Although he originally intended to do so within the sleeve notes of his album Channel Orange, he instead published an open letter on his Tumblr page.
He is known for his sensual music, often accompanied with intimate and dreamy lyrics.
His silky muses include Marvin Gaye, John Legend and Stevie Wonder.
Regarding his coming out, Frank Ocean said: “The night I posted it, I cried like a f***ing baby.
“It was like all the frequency just clicked to a change in my head. All the receptors were now receiving a different signal, and I was happy. . .
“There’s just some magic in truth and honesty and openness.”
None of his lyrics on his album Channel Orange broadcast his sexuality, with many focusing on relations with women.
However, some have debated his song, “Thinkin’ Bout You,” discusses his same-sex romance from his youth.
The hit was nominated for Record of the Year at the Grammy Awards.
He said: “The pitch is, ‘You’ll encounter less resistance in life if you say, ‘No, I’m going to just keep dating girls”. . .
“There’s so much upkeep on that s***. . .
“But at least everybody else is cool with how you carry on with your life. That’s what they say. . .
“You don’t even feel smart or capable. You just feel broken—and not just your heart.
“Just a broken person.”
He won 2011 Rookie of the Year at the GQ Awards, 2012 Man of the Year from mtvU, 2012 Man of the Year from Vibe Magazine and 2013 International Male Artist at the BRIT Awards.
He said: “Whatever I said in that letter, before I posted it, seemed so huge. . .
“Before anybody called me and said congratulations or anything nice, it had already changed.
“It wasn’t from outside. It was completely in here, in my head.”
Frank Ocean has only publicly dated Willy Cartier, a French-born model.
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From Compton in Los Angeles, The Game released his first mixtape in 2002 while recovering from gunshot wounds.
Known for his intense vibes, he had an interview with VLADTV where he pronounced his support of the LGBT community.
He said: “I don’t have a problem with gay people. . .
“Beyonce shoulda said, ‘Who run the world? Gays,’ because they everywhere, man.
“You know what I’m saying?
“And rightfully so- speaking, man, do you.
“It’s a free country. Be gay.
“You can, you know, do that.
“Game don’t have a problem with gay people.”
However, he goes on to discuss his issue with closeted gay men, explaining that he fears AIDS could rise if individuals are not honest about their sexual history.
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One of the most renowned rappers in this time period, Jay Z is from Brooklyn in New York City.
He has redefined hip-hop as an art, with three albums ranked on Rolling Stone’s 500 greatest albums of all time list.
However, the 45-year-old is bringing tolerance to industry as well, along with his wife Beyonce Knowles Carter.
In an interview with CNN, he said: “What people do in their own homes is their business and you choose to love whoever you love.
“That’s their business.
“It’s no different than discriminating against blacks.
“It’s discrimination, plain and simple.”
However, in the past, many of Jay Z’s lyrics have included both homophobic and derogatory slurs.
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Kanye West, the 38-year-old rap trailblazer, has led a life distinctive from his fellow colleagues in music.
A native of Atlanta, he moved to China for a few years with his mother, who taught as an English professor.
An exemplary student, he reflected on returning to Chicago, saying: “It gets to the point that when you go to high school and you wasn’t out in the streets like that, and you ain’t have no father figure, or you wasn’t around your father all the time, who you gonna act like?
“You gonna act like your mother. . .
“And then everybody in high school be like, ‘Yo, you actin’ like a fag. Dog, you gay?'”
Bullied because of his parents’ divorce, young Kanye West began to loathe being called homophobic slurs.
He said: “And what happened was it made me kind of homophobic, ’cause I would go back and question myself. . .
“If you see something and you don’t want to be that because there’s such a negative connotation toward it, you try to separate yourself from it so much that it made me homophobic by the time I was through high school.
“Anybody that was gay I was like, ‘Yo, get away from me.'”
Kanye West began to dabble in art, then rap.
He said: “And like Tupac said, ‘Started hangin’ with the thugs,’ and you look up and all my friends were really thugged out.
“It’s like I was racing to try to find that constant masculine role model right there, right in front of me.
“I would use the word ‘fag’ and always look down upon gays.”
However, his prejudice came to an end when he found out his cousin had come out as gay.
He said: “I loved him, he’s one of my favorite cousins.
“And at that point it was kind of like a turning point when I was like, ‘Yo, this my cousin, I love him and I been discriminating against gays.'”
Since then, he has been known for his acceptance of the LGBT community, condemning the use of the word “gay” as an insult.
He said: “If it’s good, good, good fashion-level, design-level stuff, where it’s on a higher level than the average commercial design stuff, it’s gay people that do that.
“I think that should be said as a compliment. Like, ‘Dude, that’s so good it’s almost gay.’”
He admits that, in hip-hop, homophobia still exists blatantly, saying: “But everybody in hip-hop discriminates against gay people. . .
“And I wanna just come on TV and just tell my rappers, just tell my friends, ‘Yo, stop it fam.'”
Most recently, when his wife Kim Kardashian West’s step-parent transitioned, Kanye West was one of the first to congratulate Caitlyn Jenner.
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Popular West Coast rapper Kendrick Lamar released his first mixtape at 16-years-old.
Unstoppable in the hip-hop scene, the Compton native is now 28-years-old and holding leverage in the industry.
In an interview with DJ Drama, he said: “I don’t give a f*** about people doing what they gotta do.
“That’s your lifestyle, you dig what I’m saying?
“And people gonna be they own individuals and have they own worlds and I can’t knock it. . .
“Just cause if you didn’t believe in Jesus I can’t knock you for not; you got your own beliefs and your own morals.
“I can’t help the way you was born if you was gay.
“And I can’t change that, so do what you gotta do to be happy.
“F*** it, man.”
Not only have hip-hop enthusiasts noticed both his power and talent, but the California State Senate as well.
This year, he received the “Generational Icon Award” and continues to publicly voice his opinion on current social issues.
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25-year-old Lil B, also known as The BasedGod, represents the voices of the younger, more tolerant US generation in the music business.
His alias, The BasedGod, focuses on his interpretation of the word “based”, which he describes as living an enlightened and positive existence.
On social media in particular, the rapper has expressed his support of the LGBT community to his fans and the “Twitter-sphere”.
Regarding the SCOTUS decision to legalize same-sex marriage, the California-based rapper was particularly vocal about his enthusiasm.
He said: “Even if it’s 1 percent of the people that listen to me and are gonna be free, that’s better than none.
“That’s better than not speaking up at all … and I spoke up and I did it.”
Lil B has also given motivational speeches on university campuses, such as MIT, Carnegie Mellon University and UCLA.
Additionally, he wrote a book in 2009, published under his birth name Brandon McCartney, titled, “Takin’ Over by Imposing the Positive!”
His fifth album, entitled “I’m Gay”, proclaimed his support for the LGBT community, but resulted in a handful of death threats from homophobic fans.
Lil B said: “I’m very gay, but I love women.
“I’m not attracted to men in any way. . .
“But yes I am gay, I’m so happy. I’m a gay, heterosexual male.
“I got major love for the gay and lesbian community, and I just want to push less separation and that’s why I’m doing it.”
His goal was to highlight the alternative definition of the word “gay”, which has been stigmatized in recent years.
One of his worries was that the public would think the label was in jest, saying: “I hope GLAAD sees that I’m taking initial steps to break barriers.
“One-hundred years later, people gonna thank me, because people are going to be free.”
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A rookie to the hip-hop industry, Macklemore was first truly noticed by the public eye in 2013.
After his hit songs, “Thrift Shop” and “Can’t Hold Us,” topped the charts, the 32-year-old Seattle native was regarded more for his social activism with music.
Placed in the genre of “hipster hop,” his song, “Same Love,” highlighted the struggle of the LGBT community throughout the country and rap.
In it, he says: “If I was gay, I would think hip-hop hates me
“Have you read the YouTube comments lately?
“‘Man, that’s gay’ gets dropped on the daily. . .
“Call each other faggots behind the keys of a message board
“A word rooted in hate, yet our genre still ignores it
“Gay is synonymous with the lesser
“It’s the same hate that’s caused wars from religion. . .
“When I was at church they taught me something else
“If you preach hate at the service those words aren’t anointed. . .
“I might not be the same, but that’s not important
“No freedom ’til we’re equal, damn right I support it.”
Since its release, the song has been featured in many LGBT activism videos.
Additionally, it was nominated for Best Hip-Hop Video from 2014 MTV Video Music Awards Japan, 2014 Song of the Year at the Grammy Awards and 2013 Impact Track at the BET Hip Hop Awards.
“Same Love” won 2013 Best Video with a Message from the MTV Video Music Awards.
Macklemore was nervous about the reaction of his fellow artists and has faced rumors about being gay.
However, he said: “I can honestly care less.
“What’s important to me is something much bigger than how I’m perceived and who might or might not want to make a record.
“If people are really not wanting to get on a record with me because of that, we weren’t meant to make music together.
“This is something that I believe in.
“This is something I’m willing to put out there.”
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The New York City native began his hip-hop career while serving a prison sentence.
The rapper has worked with artists, such as T.I., Roscoe Dash, T-Pain, Jadakiss, Fabolous and Swizz Beatz.
In an interview with VLADTV, Maino said: “I believe I probably have worked with a gay rapper. Let’s understand what I’m saying.
“I believe some of these guys are gay. That’s just what it is.
“If they are, that’s their business.”
While he clarifies his heterosexuality, Maino fully expresses his acceptance for the LGBT community, saying: “People have the right and liberty to do and be who they want to be.
“That’s not my lifestyle.
“That’s not what I deal with, but if that’s what you deal with and that’s who you are, then that’s your business.”
Maino cites his childhood with his relative as an enormous influence in his support, saying: “I’m not like homophobic and like, ‘oh, s***, get the gays out the building.’
“Look, man, if that’s who you are, that’s who you are.
“I had an uncle who was gay. Like, whatever.
“I loved him; that was my uncle.
“I knew he was gay.”
Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for BET
Born in Trinidad and Tobago, Nicki Minaj has taken the hip-hop scene by storm by embracing her sexuality and pushing public awareness for social issues.
She supports the LGBT community, saying: “They’re definitely a big part of my movement.”
Known for her exclusive style of switching between alter egos, she often channels Roman Zolanski, her strong inner gay man.
She said: “If a gay guy impersonates you, you are a bad bitch. Period.
“There are no ifs, ands, or buts, because they only impersonate the best.”
In the past, the public has constantly questioned her sexuality, as Nicki Minaj’s lyrics often imply a sensual appreciation for both men and women.
However, she keeps everyone guessing and continues to reject labels, saying: “The point is, everyone is not black and white.
“There are so many shades in the middle, and you’ve got to let people feel comfortable with saying what they want to say when they want to say it.
“I don’t want to feel like I’ve got the gun pointed at my head and you’re about to pull the trigger if I don’t say what you want to hear.
“I just want to be me and do me.”
Publicly, she’s dated Safaree Samuels and, currently, rapper Meek Mill.
Her trademark includes signing her autograph on female fans’ breasts.
Like many other hip-hop artists, Nicki Minaj has no doubt that her fellow musicians are not all straight, saying: “Obviously, the majority of the men in hip-hop don’t want you to think they’re gay. . .
“I’m a woman, so I have a lot more flexibility.
“And I don’t lose credibility in any way if I say I think girls are dope and sexy.”
Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for BET
30-year-old hip-hop artist T-Pain is a Florida native, who has always been blatant in his support for the LGBT community.
He said in an interview with VLADTV: “You ever notice how homophobic n****s is all the time?
“And it’s like, dude, if you ain’t gay, then gay things shouldn’t bother you.
“Like, gay people shouldn’t bother you. . .”
The CEO of Nappy Boy Entertainment, T-Pain has defended his assistant- an out gay man- publicly on social media.
He has explained that saying “no homo” is “stupid” and that casually commenting on penis size is acceptable, at least “three, four, five times”.
T-Pain also expresses his condolences for the homophobic artists affecting Frank Ocean’s career.
He thinks the musician’s opportunities have been limited by prejudiced artists since his coming out.
He said: “It’s in his f***ing genes, man. It’s not a f***ing choice.
“Man came out like that and you can’t just f***ing diss all on this man because he living a certain life that you don’t f***ing approve of because somebody told you not to approve of it.
“If you wouldn’t have been taught to not approve of some s*** like that, then you would be f***ing okay with it.”
T-Pain explained that, while the radio is becoming more “gay friendly”, urban music is not.
He said about homophobia: “I don’t f*** with nobody that think like that.
“I don’t f*** with nobody that just cut people off because of how they choose to live they life.”
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