douglasmartini replied to your quote: It’s all a far cry from hip-hop’s “no homo”…
Was it really 2009 that people started saying “no homo?” I feel like that’s a factual inaccuracy. I also feel like even though rap culture is “far” from “no homo” (at least as far as it has been), it’s still pretty close to “no homo.”
I mean, yeah, the 2009 part is his most egregious mistake. He’s half a decade out; Juelz was saying that back in 2003, and if “no homo” “swept the culture” it definitely coincided with Dipset’s heyday. Even “pause” was kind of old news by ‘09, right?
And I think it’s pretty absurd anyway to claim “no homo” was about rappers distancing themselves from the supposed DL phenomenon. As Jonah Weiner discusses in an article Lee actually links to, “no homo” was as much about wordplay as homophobia. Sure, it’s wordplay premised on homophobic assumptions, but it quickly turned into a game rappers played revolving around how expediently they could sexualize innocuous phrases and how homoerotic they could get in their rhymes while still maintaining a firmly heterosexual persona.
And Lee is entirely positive about something actually likely related to DL paranoia:
But in the last few months, seemingly unprompted by anything more than some new wellspring of compassion, major hip-hop artists have been speaking out in vehement condemnation of old homophobic tropes, calling for greater tolerance toward gay people, urging closeted gays to come out, and expressing admiration for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community in ways that would have been unimaginable a generation ago.
You know, I liked it when Pimp C rapped “Some people gay, what can I say, the only judge is god/But don’t be ashamed and try to hide cause then you livin’ fraud,” because it is an expression of tolerance, albeit not one of approval. But I wasn’t fooling myself that Pimp, and a lot of other rappers, probably want gay folks out of the closet for any reason other than so that they know who they are. One of the uglier parts of DL paranoia is that it blames closeted gay men for AIDS in the heterosexual community, and while not every pro-out expression derives from that belief, it’s part of it.
So, yeah, rap can still be pretty homophobic, but I’ll grant Lee his premise. The three dot points for his trend story are Fat Joe, Lil B, and ASAP Rocky, with an assist from a Game quote, so fair play. It would have been good if he’d, for instance, discussed how Kanye West making sincerely gay positive comments back in 2005, or if he’d mentioned Nicki Minaj, Syd tha Kid, or Big Freedia, and if he’d considered the limits to the “trend.”
Also, he used that Eminem line from “Criminal,” which, even though Em has said some homophobic shit over the years, “Criminal” was pretty obviously self-parody.
And this conclusion is just dumb:
While rappers have yet to unfurl rainbow flags en masse, and casual homophobia still abounds in videos and on songs, the current groundswell of tolerance reflects not only a wider societal acceptance of homosexuality but also changes in the way many MCs fundamentally view themselves. Where before hip-hop defined itself as a culture of resistance, by now the genre has mostly shed its outlaw status. Having saturated every corner of the mainstream—from fashion to advertising, television, and movies—hip-hop has largely remade the status quo in its own image. And given major rappers’ wealth, they seem less compelled to define themselves against others as a means of self-validation than at any other point in hip-hop history.
“trying to be gay positive” is infinitely a step in the right direction, no matter who is doing it, how awkwardly they’re doing it, or their reasons behind it
Yeah, I do agree with this. It makes me happy whenever a rapper speaks out against homophobia in any way, even if they can’t do so in a flawless fashion.