Rap music is really gay. Perhaps that’s why it’s so beloved. Everyone knows gay stuff is awesome. Even homophobes. Perhaps especially homophobes.
The best-known gay rapper is Lil Wayne. Lil Wayne’s sexuality first became a matter of public record when he was photographed kissing his lover, Birdman:
Or maybe his one-time lover, since Weezy doesn’t hang out with Birdman as much as he used to, and has been seen kissing Stevie J:
When I started writing this, I couldn’t find any evidence that Lil Wayne has ever been photographed kissing a woman, but here he is kissing Nicki Minaj, so it looks like he’s open to men and women. Good for him.
Like a lot of men who feel pressured by society to deny their natural and awesome lust for dick, Lil Wayne is pretty insecure about his sexuality. Even when he’s saying some overtly gay shit, he feels the need to try to cover it up with the usual “no homo” nonsense. This is what the phrase “no homo” sounds like every time to me:
Yes homo, basically.
A lot of rap lyrics come across as really gay. Cracked did a couple round-ups of ones they felt were particularly obvious (I seriously cannot see how the Mac Dre lyric “I need some cock hella bad” can be interpreted in any non-gay way), but there’s something sexual to all the male competition even when it doesn’t come out in the form of a Freudian slip. Maybe it’s that the constant references to dicks as weapons (to quote Plastic Little: “my dick is my gun and my gun is my dick!”) makes it confusing when they try to reference actual weapons, but I just find it difficult to listen to rappers rap aggressively at one another about guns and dicks and fights and fucking without picturing them banging. Some of the aggressive references rappers make to one another sound suspiciously like the conquest/hate-sex Kanye is always gloating about having with women. Certainly rappers call one another “bitches” almost as much as they call women “bitches.” The two ideas of manhood (lover and fighter) get mixed up so much in the extremely macho world of Jamaican dancehall that you get moments like “Pump Up Her Pum-Pum” by Sizzla, where it’s seriously not clear which gender he’s shooting and which gender he’s fucking (it doesn’t help that the men he’s shooting are being shot, with his “big gun,” for being gay). The power/sex dynamic is so all-pervasive, one wonders how many rap feuds end like this (in or out of prison):
Rappers are constantly talking about dicks. Maybe more than some openly gay men, actually. One can’t blame them though. Dicks. Here’s a clip of Cory Gunz on a Lil Wayne track saying “Bitch, I’m a man, I visit urinals with pride,” a line which earns him dap from Weezy. I can relate, gentlemen. There’s almost as much gay shit going on as denials, frankly. Very much like the US Congress.
Davey D hosts an article here about homoerotic-sounding rap lyrics (and also how some of the bro-love comes across as a little gay, a theme which has been explored famously by Aaron McGruder). In it LL Cool J is accused of sounding gay for saying he can suck his own dick. Is sucking your own dick gay because you’re giving yourself a blowjob? By that reasoning, masturbation is gay because you’re giving yourself a handjob. I never consider the gayness of sucking my own dick while I do it, but now that I think about it, it seems like we should be accusing all men of being gay for all the handjobs they give themselves. Playing with a dick? What could be gayer than that?
But overt references to dicks aside, rap is so much about being overtly manly that it’s hard to not interpret elements of it as the worship of the male form. In this Raekwon video, he “trains” some male athletes whose bodies are on constant display, and occasionally look at the camera with a look that makes one think of “video vixens”:
Note the absence of women in that video.
When people like 50 Cent show off their muscles, they can at least make the claim that it’s “for the ladies,” but since Raekwon lacks any, he hires other muscley men… for the ladies? I doubt it. And although I didn’t choose 50 Cent because I think of him as gay, it looks like he might be.
You’ll notice that nowhere in all of this did I mention Frank Ocean. That’s because he’s not a rapper, and in fact is less of a rapper than most dancehall artists are, and also because he’s not anywhere near as good as Lil Wayne. I’m not gonna pretend to like the dude more because he’s gay (or bi, or apparently just generally doesn’t like labels, maybe? but he does like dick), any more than I’m going to exaggerate how good Macklemore is because he really wants gay people to like him (although Thrift Shop was actually a pretty good song, I’ll admit, but Victor Vazquez and Himanshu Suri are way better hipster rappers). And I’m certainly not going to mention Nicki Minaj just because she used to pretend to be bisexual.
So the things the media tries to push as seminal moments for rap dealing with homophobia within “the culture” are all not, but it doesn’t really matter: Most rappers and most men are pretty obviously suppressing some really obvious love for dick, and rather than wait for “the first gay rapper,” we should just acknowledge that rap is the most homoerotic display of masculinity this side of heavy metal.