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LGBTQ RAP

Disclaimer: The opinions below are that of these featured artists. They are not necessarily endorsed by us.


ALSACE CARCIONE

The come-up is deserved for Alsace, a veteran femcee who's been rhyming since childhood. But it hasn't been easy.

"Some artists choose to stay in the lane of the LGBT community. I refuse to stay in that lane or any lane. My music is too universal.

"I have felt that I have been unfairly charged because some artists are ‘prettier’ than I am, that people will give those artists shows or sign them before they’d look at me—and I do feel like it is because I am a lesbian." (Dallas Observer)

Does that stop her from reaching the masses? Hell no. Is Alsace political? Absolutely.

"With everything going on in the world, it's no ignoring the pain that is being played right on the televisions and internet circuits of the world.

But this pain is a reality for so many African-Americans in America." (x)


From the album Cryptic Conundrum

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AMPLIFY DOT

She's the grime-rapper and South London broadcaster that has hip-hop abuzz. Amplify is a rock-star who missed the Britwave by a few decades.

At 13, her first gig impressed the legendary Missy Elliott. From there, fame was a sure shot. (The Guardian)





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ANGEL HAZE

Rakeeya "Angel" Haze is a seminal agender rapper. They identify beyond the Western gender binary as Afro-Indigenous two-spirited (neither male or female), and are attracted to all genders.

Their unconfined style weaves social justice into rap.

"If they're [people are] too afraid to break out of the boxes that society places them in, then we'll forever be stagnant." (The Guardian)

Haze's rapped about religion, domestic violence, struggling artists, abuse, depression, inequality and LGBT rights. Hell of a role model.



Angel doesn't consider religion to be a generally positive force, if her recent video 'Resurrection' gives us any clue. And she talks about the cognitive dissonance of Christianity often.

"knowing what Christians or the world may perceive as wrong, is a part of me. I fight myself sometimes.

When I was young I didn't understand what was going on.



I didn't understand that I could be attracted to men and women at the same time. I went through a lot of s--t. It really takes a toll on you. I think religion is very toxic.

Spirituality though, I'm completely synchronized with that, and I think definitely it'll be on display a lot in my new music." (Billboard)

Haze also supports upcoming artists in the rap scene who haven't made their identity public.

"I think there's room in hip-hop for tons of gay rappers. I'm sure there's already loads of them who are too scared to come out." (x)

"It's not about anything other than that we are all energies connected with a force that's greater than us. It's an energy that's omniscient, it covers the whole world." (x)

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BRIAN IS ZÉ (BIZ VICIOUS)


Brian Is is a Houston rapper who holds their own on the microphone. And BiZ wants to make one thing clear: non-binary terms and agender is their wave.

Growing up however, they came from a church-going family with a mother who sang for choir. Music was a genetic guarantee. (Outsmart Magazine)

They're adamant that advocating for the LGBTQ community starts in open, chosen expression. Tragedies like Orlando are not hurtful reminders of how far we have yet to come, but learning experiences for all.

When they're not solo performing, BiZ is part of The Queer Agenda and DJ'ing as Queermo.

"I have become more confident in presenting my gender in different ways, especially being more femme.

I picked Brian Is Zé as a backronym for Biz because I think of ze/hir/hirs as the most unapologetic gender-queer pronouns." (Houston Press)

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CAKES DA KILLA

Rashard Bradshaw, AKA Cakes Da Killa, is a lyrical maestro. He's also not afraid to love himselfand men. As a result, no one in rap had many relevant things to say when he became an MC.

"I don’t deal with homophobia in the hip-hop community—I tend to just do me. Racism in the gay community is something I deal with more often.

I address any issues head on—the same thing [goes] with fatphobia. I will take up all the space I want, and you will deal." (Slug Magazine)

"I’m just being myself, and sometimes, that can be political. Artists like Mykki and myself have opened up doors for others to be able to thrive as openly gay rappers/creatives.

 I talk about gay love in my music because we need more of that in music and literature for visibility." (x)

Says Cakes about being one of the first known LGBTQ rappers in this generation: "We’re all a community, but we don’t have the same experiences. And reality can become white washed and erased.

You have to be yourself, 100%. What I’m doing is its own unique thing. Maybe the next person will be like ‘this is so Cakes'." (Echo Mag)

"There's so much negative that we face on a day-to-day basis that I just use my music to empower myself and empower other people." (Fader)

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ILOVEMAKONNEN


" I don’t give a fuck! I’m fuckin' me."

The genre-less L.A. rapper Makonnen Sheran is setting trends in hip-hop left and right.

He's collaborated with the most prominent names while keeping true to himself.

"I’m from the southside [of Atlanta], and the biggest motherfuckers in the game is fucking with me and my music!" (Fader)

 

"The world is changing, right?

Everybody know I'm gay and shit, so it's like, I might as well go ahead and make my little announcement to the world."

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iRAWniQ

iRAWniQ is a perfect example of how Christianity can't truly change you. Ris Anderson is one "UNAPOLOGETIC GENDERFLUID" rap bad-ass (x).

She is hip-hop's savvy outsider who breaks out of boxes one alternative song at a time. Black Girls on Skateboards was an ode to this. iRAWniQ went one step further with Alien Pu$.

"Alien Pu$ is an intimate encounter with a woman for the first time. More of a celebration...freedom...awareness...security.

It’s not only about being one with yourself but being able to make someone else feel comfortable with themselves. I’ve had my share of chicks that I’ve made feel comfortable." (HuffPost)

She performed at Mothership Women's Festival, a gender-fluid retreat, musical concert and workshop in 2014 that hosts feminist events.

"HER/LA is a really cool little society in the feminist realm of L.A. We’re rad-ass bitches and we can make shit happen." (LA Weekly)

Motherhood is a facet of her life iRAWniq does not look at with rose-tinted lenses. She understands the difficulties to come in the Trump administration.

"I try to advocate and show people the importance of activism for animals and how important animals are to the community.

I'm queer, openly queer, so women's rights are important. To be a gay minority woman with a kid, a single mom, I'm on the lower end of the totem pole.

Revolution evolves. It's strength in numbers.

The more that people stand together and say, "Hey, I'm not going to deal with this bullshit, I'm not going to be ashamed of being a black gay woman in America".

The more that we take a stand and have conversations about it, the more it will be at the forefront." (Lenny Letter)

Why is hip-hop so powerful? iRAWniq has a good theory.

I love hip hop. It’s a culture. It’s a movement. It’s freedom and expression to say and rap about whatever we wanna say and rap about.

I am an expressive, eclectic, openly gay female with bars and a conscience. I’m unafraid to express my gender and sexual identity and present day makes it so much easier to be true to one’s self." (MySpace)

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JAY BOOGIE

The fierce and proudly New York rapper Joel Rayos is definitely one to watch.

"Jay Boogie is a human...activist, MC and a child of God with a dark past and a bright future."

Performance art blends into abstract, avant-garde hip-hop with no set lines between feminine and masculine themes. He walks the London fashion runways, but can cut a mean freestyle all the same.

His idols can be anyone from the bodybuilding queen Adrienne-Joi Johnson to Grace Jones, hardcore rappers and NYC's ballroom scene.

Jay Boogie has no time for fake power and imposed violence from men.

'Witch Samurai'
"Are you uncomfortable because I’m so comfortable
Or are you uncomfortable because I don’t fuck with you?"

"Men that think masculinity equals power, men that use their masculinity to intimidate or control. That shit doesn’t work.


Photo by Camilo Fuentealba.

Masculinity and femininity have nothing to do with courage and strength." (Hunger)

 "I consider my artistry a form of activism. It just so happens that my voice is the weapon I use to fight against whatever the battle is." (Miami New Times)

Jay Boogie's no fool to the 2016 U.S. election's ominous implications.

"I don’t perceive Hillary as a leader and I don’t perceive Trump as a real person. That’s that. I think that in a way, he is really into mass destruction through his power." (Sleek Mag)

Jay Boogie is a symbol of America's gradual return to Afro-Indigenous gender fluidity, as he's both Dominican and Colombian.

Machismo is an everyday challenge, a hypermasculine criteria in Latino communities that makes it difficult for non-gender binary people to be themselves.

"My ambition is to be able to use my experiences to liberate other people from oppression or lack of diversity."

Fuck that, he says.

In my scene, I’ve learned that a lot of gay men go through phases where they look at themselves and don’t love themselves because of what they see and hear other people of their kind go through." (Sleek Mag)

"I really want to bring that confrontation to the light through performance. My intentions aren't to tamper hip-hop's infrastructure but to contribute to its evolution."(x)

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KRUDAS CUBENSI

The Afro-Cuban duo has been music-making since the 1990's.

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Rap duo Krudas Cubensi gives queer Afro-Cubans a voice (PRI, 3-22-16)


LADY LUCK AND SOMAYA REECE

Shanell Jones and Somaya Reece have been in the music industry together a long time.

" She was the first female MC that embraced me in New York when no one else would. We clicked on a friendship level and our art." (VH1)

They're self-established businesswoman and artists who are both well-known on VH1's Love and Hip-Hop. There, the duo dropped a bombshell.

They decided to make their relationship official as of March, and got engaged. It was a groundbreaking move not just in television.


LIL' YACHTY

The ever-controversial rapper included a gay couple on his album, Teenage Emotions. He's the first mainstream rapper to include LGBTQ representations so casually on a cover.

"I did this cover, putting all the "outcasts" on the cover, because I’m like the outcast in hip-hop. I’m promoting positivity, I’m promoting happiness and loving yourself and having fun." (The Guardian)


NINA TECH

"I dropped the EP on October 10th because fuck Columbus Day, it's my moms birthday. She rawer than him." (The Fader)


Chicago rapper "Lady" Nina Tech, Zerricka Burton.

She's a 18-year-old biomedical engineering student rhyming in her spare time, and a comfortably pansexual artist.

"I don’t like to categorize myself. I guess you could say I’m lesbian, but I’m open to whatever. I’m not closed off to other things, I just prefer girls I guess." (x)

Again, Nina Tech is not bothered by others' assumptions or discomfort about her same-sex desire.

"I’m sure when I talk about how I’m 'fucking bitches', people are like, “Yeah, she’s a lesbian rapper.”

She doesn't want her sexual politics taking the main stage either.

"There’s so much more to me besides what gender I like. That’s why I try not to put a title on it."

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RAINBOW NOISE ENTERTAINMENT

Rainbow Noise Entertainment is Cee Smith's finished project after brushing shoulders with mainly male music labels: a lesbian-owned label. You heard that right.


Stud Phamous and Cee Smith.

Phame is about recognition for her craft, but in regards to her sexual identity. "My dream is to be one of the greatest lesbian artists." (Vada)

"RNE will become the premier company for LGBT artists, promotion, event hosting and entertainment services. Our mission involves a non-compromising approach to presenting positive images of LGBT entertainers in multiple arenas."


Still from 'The Motto (HOMO)'.

Since 2010, Rainbow Noise made it their mission to highlight LGBTQ artists and performers. They've got a serious message for aspiring creators who aren't straight.

"You don’t have to change who you are to be successful!

You don’t have to compromise yourself when reaching for your goals." (x)

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ROXXXAN


Birmingham native Roxxxan brings an aggressive femininity to rap that doesn't compromise a thing.


"IF people label me as 'gay rapper RoxXxan', I'm not offended. I started rappin', and then I got good at it.

People started clappin'. And I just started writing my own lyrics. I was 14, I've been rapping ever since."

 

Roxxxan doesn't shy away from talking hardships as a woman-loving-woman.

"All you ever hear in the hood is, 'Shut up, you're gay'.

You're brought up to believe that it's wrong. It took me ages to come out and tell everybody, but life is a lot easier for me now."


SAYE SKY

Saye Skye is an Iranian rapper who fled the country as an out lesbian. She is a proud advocate for human rights and the LGBT community.


"I’m the first person who sang about LGBQT in all history of Iran."

 

"I sang...for Tehran’s lesbian population." But Saye found that being open about her orientation became dangerous.

"It's so hard to live in Iran when you are a lesbian, or you are a girl even. You should be invisible."

Saye unflinchingly takes on trans rights, women's rights, child labor and intolerance. Her identity and activism would make her a refugee (x).

"In rap music, you can talk about everything. You don’t have any limitations...I'm using my power, everything that I have, just to make a change. Even so little in this world."

"My goal is to make my music appeal to the Iranian community primarily, as well as international audiences that enjoy social justice-inspired music."

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Witness Statement: Saye Sky (Iran Human Rights Documentation Center, 4-12-10)

How Femcee and Persian Refugee Saye Skye Is Using Hip-Hop to Change the World (BadPerm, 3-12)

Toronto Arts Foundation Celebrates Newcomer Artists (Now Toronto, 11-6-13)


SYD THA KID

She's the sexy and androgynous rap-soulstress of The Internet and Odd Future. Since her debut, Syd's been turning heads in more than one way.

LGBTQ and non-LGBTQ fans alike love her.

She's a unique visual artist, two things that bounce off of one another.

 

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TIM'M WEST

"I was a very early pioneer in openly masculine, gay hip-hop."

 

"I'm a hip-hop jock type. When I came out, a lot of them didn't have a reference to what a masculine, basketball-playing, hip-hop [guy] would be doing being gay."

"Black gay identity can be political. It can be masculine. It can be a lot of different things."

 

Links

Tim'm West and the Masculine Mystique (The Reader, 2-20-13)

Queer activist and rapper Tim'm West Challenges the Norm (The Georgia Voice, 10-15-15)


YOUNG M.A.

The Brooklyn heavyweight Katorah Marrero never pulls any punches about her skill, style and sexuality.

"Music is my expression. Music is my release. Music is my therapy. This is where I’m going to speak about my sexuality. She presents as masculine but again is not about compartmentalization as a rap artist.

 

"‘I don’t say “I’m gay, I’m gay, I’m gay!” I don’t like doing that.’"

As for the misogynistic undertones in rap today, she's straightforward.

"This industry is male-dominated, we can’t pretend that it’s not. So when you do make it as a female, you feel more honoured." (x) Young M.A. commands attention like a P.A. system. Watch her freestyle below.

"If I change people’s lives, that’s all that matters to me. I don’t want to be the first ‘dyke rapper,’ ‘aggressive rapper.’ I don’t care for that." (The Fader)

"I don’t care what nobody say–the only thing that can defeat hate is love."

 

 


Gay Rap Becomes Reality (The Guardian, 7-13-13)

15 Queer Female Hip-Hop Artists You Should Know (Autostraddle, 8-8-14)

Homo-Hop Is Dead, Queer Hip-Hop Is the Real Deal (Dot 429)