THE FAGGOTRY OF HIP HOP

By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

“It started as just common place; it was just part of the language. I think the overtones that it creates, is not what really exists. I don’t think if you are gay and you go to a hip hop club that you’ll get beat up for being gay. That’s not what is going to happen. I think words are the way that people express themselves—just like if you say ‘bitch’ on a rap record for a long time, you can rally thousands of women that will say that’s incorrect. You can’t focus on one single thing or bad aspect of what happens in hip hop and try to blanket it. That’s not the root of the problem. It exists, I think it’s how you portray it, and it’s how you use it. You gotta paint with a broad brush when you talk about homophobia, because it’s a lot of things that exist in hip hop that aren’t exactly right, but it’s part of the landscape.”

-Xzibit

Last year, the suicides of gay teens splattered across headlines in what felt like a bloodshed massacre brought on by violence and brutally ugly words. These words — spit like bullets — packed a deadly punch.

If there’s anyone who knows how to throw an uppercut with word venom, it’s a hot-mouthed rapper.

In the bling and booty-drenched culture that is hip hop, often these overly excessive and flashy accessories distract from some of the same brutally ugly words that still shoot from rappers’ tongues. In the game of hip hop, the mouth is a gun. The in-the-ear and out-the-other mentality clearly doesn’t hold true in regards to certain stars who many urban youth idolize.

If you read this blog regularly, you would know that I support hip hop. Besides the love given to underground/indie artists, I’ve been known to drool over Drake, and I also truly connect and relate to Eminem’s story and lyrics. My post on Eminem’s sobriety + sponsorship with Elton John went viral and landed on the front page of Reddit, leaving a few wondering how I (someone who falls under the LGBTQ umbrella) could support Eminem when his earlier work was covered in homophobic themes. My response has always been the same: I respect the art form, not always what lies underneath. Truth be told, I think music and the art of rhyme can be a cathartic strand of therapy for these men, even when that strand becomes tangled with homophobia.

The questions remain:

Should hip hop be held responsible? My answer is no.

Should the form be watered down? My answer is no.

Confused? Let me explain. As much as I know that these rappers have influenced a generation, the problem is much bigger than pointing fingers. I do not support hate, but I do support art and creative expression. I know from personal experience that creative outlets can help to shape, to understand, to relate, to retaliate, to vent, but most importantly it can be a vehicle, one that gets the poison out of the system in a way that isn’t entirely toxic. I can’t speak for all, but this is what I think (certain) rappers do. Granted, there are some rappers who seem clueless to their behavior and words, and for these individuals I think it’s more a statement of character versus the state of the hip hop art form.

A prime example would be 50 Cent, when he sparked controversy by tweeting (excuse his poor grammar): “If you a man and your over 25 and you don’t eat pu**y just kill your self damn it. The world will be a better place. Lol.”

Clearly, this isn’t a part of any artistic creation except ignorance and hatred, the exact opposite message that I hope bleeds through this post.

As a matter of fact, I would like to say that these rappers aren’t afraid or repulsed by us. No, not at all. After researching hints of homophobia in rap lyrics, I wouldn’t say they’re purely homophobic either. I would say they’re a bit obsessed with us. Besides the fact that many of these alpha males create rap about bitches and Bacardi, a style/mindset was also created for the masses by these same men, one that we all know all too well: The Baggy Pants Syndrome. If rappers were indeed afraid to taste the rainbow, I can’t imagine how one could tread the pavement with his boxers hanging out, exposing the top half of his basketball-shaped derriere.

All playfulness aside, it’s now a matter of expressing what lies outside the harmful language, what lies outside the three minute song that our generation has on repeat. Who are these arrogantly confident rappers when the lights go down?

I do not think the hip hop community (or any entertainer) for that matter is solely responsible for any child’s moral code (this is where parenting comes in), but I do think (in a perfect world) this should be a concern in their hearts. Yes, vent. Spill your guts. Ruffle feathers. That’s what artists do. But also, use your platform to never justify hate and to speak out against the victimized and abused. This is a genre formed on the freedom to be heard and the freedom to bring about change, and yet it’s sprouted legs that seem to be walking in a totally different direction. It’s glorifying drugs. It’s picking on queers. It’s belittling women.

And as much as I’m against censorship, I’m also an extremist for positive change. And if that requires a little editing, so be it. Because besides being lame, homophobic lyrics are played out and lack originality, thought, and spark.

Metaphorically speaking, perhaps it’s time for those in the rap game to pull their pants up.

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