Last week, rapper Fat Joe addressed the topic in an interview on VladTV. Joe encouraged infamous, as yet unidentified, and much speculated upon gay rappers to just come on out the closet. “It’s 2011, going on 2012. Rep your set,” he suggested.
“I’m pretty sure I’ve done songs with gay rappers,” the Bronx rapper Joe continued, offering no speculation on whom he suspects. “I’m pretty sure of that… In 2011 you gotta hide that you gay? Like, be real. ‘Yo, I’m gay, what the f---!’ F--- it if people don’t like it.”
He added, that the entertainment industry is controlled by a “gay mafia” made up of editorial presidents of magazines, PDs at radio stations, and the “people that give you awards at award shows.”
“They are in power, he continued. “So, why wouldn’t a guy come out and say, ‘Yo, I’m gay,’ and get that type of love?”
Fat Joe, who actually needs a new moniker after dropping 100lbs over the last year, isn’t the first rapper to suggest it's time for folks to just come on out with their sexuality. In September, The Game also appeared on Vlad TV and suggested the same. (Pause. Am I missing something? Why is this such a hot topic over there? Does DJ Vlad know something we don’t?) Vlad asked The Game if he thought a gay rapper could reach Eminem’s status.
“Be gay, you can do that,” Game responded, not really answering the question. “Game don't have a problem with gay people. It ain’t cool to be in the closet. If you gay, just say you gay. Be gay and be proud.”
Of course, I agree with the sentiment. And in theory, what the two men advise makes sense. But in application? I can’t see it going over so well. Even if this hypothetical gay rapper was as gangster as “Omar” from The Wire, we’re talking about how this would go over for a group of men who still, in 2011, add a “no homo” disclaimer after making any comment that could be taken out of context. Kanye’s skirts and blouses? Wayne’s jeggings? Drake’s emo-lyrics? All derided as “gay”, and not in a happy way, but rather indictments of their lacking masculinity, and final “proof” that they are boys who must like boys.
Hip-hop is hyper-masculine, and one of the definitions of masculinity in the narrow scope that’s widely accepted, is loving, accumulating and boasting about girls, girls, girls. Straight dudes listening to a dude rap about dudes? He could flow like Jay-Z, Biggie or Lauryn combined over Kanye, RZA, and Lex Luger tracks, and as much as I'd like to hope listeners would accept the talent for what it is, I just can’t picture men rocking their Beats by Dre headphones and spitting along to the lyrics. Can you?
On this topic, I wish more people thought like Fat Joe and The Game, but there’s a long, long way to go before most listeners will get there.
Demetria L. Lucas is the author of “A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life” (Atria) in stores now. Follow her on Twitter @abelleinbk