Hip hop in LGTBIQ key: on the other side of the closet | Babelia

One of the biggest musical phenomena of the past year was a 21-year-old guy from Georgia (USA) named Lil Nas X. He managed to break all the records of permanence (and return) to number one on the US charts. with your theme Old town road. Its merit is not trivial. With this cut, he managed to dignify and give universal appeal to one of the most complicated genre crossings that any artist can undertake. Lil Nas X mix country and hip hop, and no, you don't because you have lost a bet. He really is a rapper who likes him country. But Montero Lamar Hill (his real name, much better than his stage name) has managed to not only succeed with a recipe traditionally destined for disaster - or hopefully, the beach bar joke - but he has also done so while being a working gay man. two of the most genre-prone musical genres in music history.

Lil Nas X is not alone. But it is not the first either. What he has achieved may never have been achieved if, in the late 1990s, Rob Halford, leader of the heavy metal Judas Priest - another genre traditionally unkind to homosexuality that Lil Nas X must now be thinking about how to attack - would not have stated live in an interview on MTV that he was gay. "It was an accident. I had no plans to come out of the closet. I only remember that he was talking and, suddenly, through my mouth it came out: 'As a gay man I am ...'. And look, the better. My life has been easier since that moment ”, remembered years later the singer and god of metal. Contrary to what many could presage at the time, the number of Judas Priest fans who resigned as such was minimal. Sometimes it seems that some homophobia is accepted out of inertia, not conviction. This does not justify anything, but it explains a lot.

In 2002, five years after Halford's accidental confession, a group of New York gay monkfish burst onto the scene. led by a certain Caushun. They tried to make a hole for themselves celebrating their sexual condition. 15 years earlier, the manager With disrespectful tendencies Russell Simmons saw potential in selling the world three white rapemos called Beastie Boys. He was convinced - rightly so - that if there were successful kids in the genre, it could go global. Caushun saw the same move, but from sexual orientation. Also, he was the guy who styled his wife. “Caushun is going to open a discussion on the subject, which is one of the last prejudices that still prevail on the scene. Homosexuals have a lot of influence in the hip hop back room, it is time for them to have a voice, ”he declared at the time. The New York Times Ivan Matias, one of the guys in charge of the rapper's career. The bet came out regular. That same year, Madonna, Britney Spears, and Christina Aguilera kissed each other on the lips during their performance at the MTV VMA Awards. Months later, a journalist asked the rapper Missy Elliott if she had joined. "No, no, no ... hip hop will never do that. Not in a million years, "he replied.

A decade later, the music world underwent one of the greatest paradigm shifts ever. Suddenly, sexuality was no longer treated as a primary desire and more as a primary condition. The artists were more interested in telling us why they slept with men, or women, or both, than in telling us what they were going to do to us if they caught us in a dark room. Taking advantage of this trend, which he introduced into the discourse from theories queer Until the concept of pansexuality, a new wave of artists emerged hip hop and urban people who confessed without shame to adhere sexually to the freest and most flexible concepts. Janelle Monäerappers Angel Haze or Azealia Banks, Mykki White –Big promise of rap for about six months–, the hippie lesbian Brooke candy, or Frank Ocean, the voice of a generation. “Frank is the icon of the revolution, but this revolution needs some time to overheat. And we don't know what that will bring. I only know that we are used to seeing gay white men succeed. I hope that soon we will see gay black men achieve the same, "he told Los Angeles Times Iman Jordan, composer and singer of r’n’b formerly known as Matthew. The saint from whom he took his name is the patron saint of lotteries. So, the following will not surprise you ...

Then, when everything seemed to be aligned for the final normalization, what happened almost always happened: everything remained in the transitional fashion. "Now it seems cool to be gay, everyone fakes it," proclaimed Roxxan, a lesbian MC from Birmingham. It was the moment that Rihanna confessed to kissing a girl. And Katy Perry even made a song. Even for a few months Nicki Minaj announced that she was bisexual. How radical everything. Rita Ora proclaimed to the four winds her love for Cara Delevinge. Roxxan, rightly, did not trust all this: “It seems to me that it is a strategy to expand the fan base. Then, when they have already achieved it, they pass the gay roll. And look, you can't stop being gay when you're successful. ”

"What I do is explore my sexuality in a very natural way, which has to do with both my condition as a homosexual and the fact of being a man. I do it from a masculine perspective, which is very different from the feminine one. My personality has been shaped in the same way that Nas or Wu Tang Clan did. ” Thus he explained his idiosyncrasy to The Guardian Mykki Blanco in 2013. And this is a bit like the non-heteronormative phenomena of hip hop Today they have built their narrative. Something, then, remained from that year of the revolution that was not. Lil Nas X has reinvented the aesthetic of cowboy from a point of view that has more to do with a light-hearted version of Brokeback Mountain than with one with wagons of Priscilla, queen of the desert. The same Tyler The Creator, rapper just out of the closet and formerly known for his homophobic outbursts when he shared a collective hip hop with Frank Ocean (Odd Future) and who has now built a character: Igor, homosexual, theatrical, dislocated, but who owes his existence to David Byrne more than anyone. Even Kevin Abstract, one of the leaders of Brockhampton, sort of boy band of the rap with enormous success in the US, last year he released a very interesting confessional hip hop solo album from the homosexual. Everything seems to be, finally, in its place, which is anywhere you want to be. At least until you listen an interview with Lil Nas X on the BBC and this returns all this to the starting box: “I think I am opening doors for many people. Especially in the community of hip hop, where it is not accepted to be gay ”.


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