That’s a question that obsessed people after the Connecticut
publication One Nut set off a firestorm of speculation a few years ago
by publishing a series of interviews with an anonymous well-known
rapper who claimed to be gay. Hip-hop fans and industry insiders went
on a witch hunt, analyzing lyrics and theorizing about various
artists’ offstage behavior. Stars ranging from LL Cool J to Dr. Dre
to Jay-Z to Method Man found their sexual orientation being called
Sadly, the fascination was fueled by prevalent gay stereotypes. Far
too many people seem to think that being gay would somehow prevent a
rapper from busting a mind-altering dance move or kicking a dope
freestyle. But such notions are ridiculous. After all, there are gay
policemen, accountants and doctors who are as good at their jobs or
better than their straight colleagues. So why couldn’t the Gay Rapper
be a superstar?
A listen to the tracks “Straight Trippin’ ” or “Fam Biz Edit,” put
out by Bay Area rappers Tim’m T West and Juba Kalamka with their crew, D/DC (Deep Dick Collective), lays to rest any idea that gay rappers
lack the necessary skills.Over the past couple of years, D/DC has
built a strong reputation at its frequent shows for both gay and
straight crowds. The D/DC group is best known for its innovations —
fusing spoken-word, as well as straight-up rap, with the music. Their
current CD has a title that’s hard to confuse with any other,
“Bourgiebohopostpomoafro Homo,” and they’re working on a new disc,
“The Famous Outlaw League of Proto-Negroes,” due out in the fall on
the Sugartruck/Agitprop/Cellular label. Check out the Web site
gayhiphop.com to sample D/DC’s music.
Another Bay Area artist who is openly gay and has forged an awesome
reputation as an innovative rhymer is Hanifah Walidah. She first hit
the scene in 1994 using the name Sha-Key, having released the
impressive album “A Headnodda’s Journey.” Her single “Soulsville”
was ahead of its time because it fused rap with spoken-word years
before that would become common. Walidah is featured on the new
compilation album “Shame the Devil” (Freedom Fighter Records) which
deals with the prison industrial complex. She’s currently at work on
a hip-hop opera.
Hanifah and D/DC are just a few of the gay artists taking their
rightful places in the world of hip-hop, and these artists are
building upon the trailblazing spirit of earlier gay hip-hoppers.The
Bay Area owes a debt of gratitude to people such as Page Hodell, one
of the first women to do a live mix show on commercial radio, working
the turntables on KSOL in the mid-’80s. She rivaled, and often
surpassed, her male counterparts. Hodell also deejayed and produced
one of the country’s longest-running hip-hop clubs. The Box, as it
was called, ran for more then 10 years in San Francisco, attracted
thousands of clubgoers, mostly gay, and became a Bay Area institution.
Props are also due for Dave Moss, who was on KSOL’s up-and-coming
rival station, KMEL, at the same time as Hodell. KMEL was then known
primarily as a dance station, but on Saturday nights Moss would put
together incredible East Coast-style break beat/hip-hop mixes that are
still talked about today.
DJ Neon Leon, well-known in London and among house music fans
everywhere, started in the mid-’80s as a hip-hop DJ on KALX, the
University of California-Berkeley station. He later earned his
stripes as a Hip Hop club DJ at the now-defunct I-Beam.
We could go on and on naming gay artists who have made an impact on
hip-hop. Gays have always been down with hip-hop. Many have embraced
the culture from day one….The question is: Do we accept our gay
brothers and sistas?
So who is the Gay Rapper? He or she might be the victor of a fierce
rhyme battle or the artist whose record you dance to every time it’s
played on the radio or at a club. So what difference does it make?
written by Davey D for San Jose Mercury News.. please send emails to
Dear George Rush, Joanna Molloy, The New York Daily News and all other parties involved,
My name is Tony Muhammad, President and founder of Urban America Enterprises, Inc. and publisher of Urban America Newspaper, the first ever urban community newspaper, based in South Florida. I am responding to the inflammatory commentary made about one of the most respected teachers and leaders in Hip-Hop, KRS-ONE. The commentary appeared very recently in The New York Daily News in an article entitled KRS-One, decency zero. The article itself pertained to statements made by KRS-ONE at a recent panel lecture concerning the Hip-Hop community’s response to the 9-11 terror attacks. After careful analysis of both the article published in The New York Daily News and KRS-ONE’s response, which is currently being circulated on several sites on the internet, I can very much say that your brand of journalism is not only irresponsible, but it is “choppy” and insulting both to KRS-ONE and the Hip-Hop community. According to your biography, Mr. Rush, you have a Masters degree in Journalism from Columbia University and have been published in various magazines as well as publishing a book yourself. Tell me, how this can be true? As an experienced educator I can safely say that I have seen greater detail in 3rd grade level essays about “favorite things to do” than in your “high status” New York Daily News article about what KRS-ONE supposedly said.
His statements, I admit, would be considered “controversial” to people such as yourselves, considering your backgrounds. However, just because you did not fully understand what he said, does that give you a right to twist his words around according to your own paranoid view of reality (a syndrome from which a large percentage of Americans today suffer from thanks to the Bush Administration’s terror alert campaigns)?
If you considered KRS-ONE’s statements so shocking or feel that you may have misinterpreted something he said, why did you not take the opportunity to ask a question to receive more clarity? Even if you did not have the opportunity to ask questions, perhaps you would have done better justice by printing more fully what the man actually said. To automatically and “officially” declare “his solidarity with Al Qaeda,” the group linked with the murder of over two thousand people is repulsively sick. You are speaking of a man who has organized with his Temple of Hiphop annual days of mourning to the victims of the 9-11 terror attacks. Not only this, since 1987, I have religiously heard the man’s music, which has frequently contained lyrics emphasizing “world peace.” KRS-ONE’s statement about how “Hiphoppas” (not merely African-Americans as you put it) cheered and said “justice” when they saw the World Trade Center being attacked is indeed scary but it is very much a real view that much of today’s youth hold. Trust me. It is no coincidence that soon after this horrible act was broadcasted on television, many of my own students at the time were theorizing that the Bush Administration was responsible (Not that I believe or disbelieve this myself, but, in effect, posing the question as to why they would automatically think this way).
Why do you believe there was so much support for Jadakiss’ controversial song Why? (this song itself includes a question pertaining to why Bush blew up the towers – a song aired uncensored and highly requested on New York FM radio). Many of our inner-city youth may not know how to express themselves fully on such topics as the 9-11 terror attacks, largely due to their own lack of study. Yet and still, they are harassed enough by police to identify a common threat. Yet and still, they are annoyingly tested like genie pigs in the public schools enough to identify a common threat. This is not to mention that anger on the part of the poor world wide has built up immensely thanks to the World Trade Organization. In America we are constantly losing jobs which are being transported overseas. The result? The decrease of legal inner-city economies has led to the rise of illegal economies, which many youths participate in. The high neglect of such communities in America has left them in conditions similar to those of 3rd World Countries. In Third World Countries, as I am sure you are aware, youth are employed in factories owned by the same companies that left the inner-cities of America, where they produced products such as Nike shoes; laboring for, in some cases, two cents a day. The Hip-Hop youth of America, in turn, purchase such products twenty to thirty times more than what they are actually worth. This is partially why KRS-ONE identifies such corporate entities as “oppressors” – as you are so quick to mention.
Do you not understand now why such anger would exist in the hearts and minds of the youth? Perhaps you need to live the experience of a youth that embraces Hip-Hop culture to fully understand what I am saying. Especially ask those who grew up embracing Hip-Hop culture during the crack filled 80s what their views regarding the government were (and most likely still are). It has only been recently that we have been targeted by more “liberal” factions of U.S. politics to, for the first time, vote in a presidential election just as the Kennedy Administration targeted highly neglected African-Americans to vote for the first time (in a long time) in the 1960s. Your slanderous and abominable statements about KRS-ONE sharply resemble the way the media has historically repeatedly lashed out against African-American leaders, such as Malcolm X and countless others, who have spoken on what have been considered unexplored realities to white America.
As a note, I am certain that the anger among the Hip-Hop youth is destined to get worse once they realize fully how they are being targeted to be sent and slaughtered in a war that most do not agree with. Just take a look at where the armed forces is advertising: on BET during Rap City, in The Source and XXL Magazines; presenting the armed forces as being a party-filled experience where all the guys are rich and all drive wrapped Hummers (you know, the kind that recruiters drive up to inner-city schools in with the intent to attract attention). I don’t see such targeting towards white non-Hip-Hop youth on any form of television programming or print media. If you are to expose any scandals (or how your column puts it “gossip”) why don’t you investigate things along the lines of this matter? I am sure the experience will be like opening a Pandora’s box.
In respects to the mention of this country “must commit suicide if the world is to be a better place,” KRS-ONE was in a philosophical sense saying that the negative or “corrupt” characteristics of the United States, both in its foreign and domestic policies, must end. Taking chopped up “tidbits” of what KRS-ONE had to say and twisting them to make it seem as if he is the epitome of evil have me question your motives which may be regarded as “evil” in and of themselves. You alluding that KRS-ONE is opposed to voting is flawed. At his concerts he emphasizes the familiar phrase “Voting is the least you can do” to show and prove the type of power the Hip-Hop community has. You quoting him in saying “Voting in a corrupt society adds more corruption” must obviously be expressed in a totally wrong context.
One final note, just because KRS-ONE is not currently signed to what would be regarded a “major record label,” it absolutely does not mean that his music career is in a “downward-spiraling” motion as you put it. In fact, he has expressed much joy in being free from any corporate entities pinning him down to a recording contract. Anywhere in this country, from what I have experienced and know, he still packs concerts – mainly filled with Hip-Hop youth who are eager to know the truth as he expresses it. His career as a leader and teacher to the Hip-Hop nation is not over. It has just begun. It is not his career that is “bent on self-destruction,” as you put it, but our very lives as Americans if we do not take the time to listen to others with alternative perspectives of reality who seek nothing less than for humanity to be steered on the right path. In fact, for all readers on the internet who have the opportunity to read this and maintain an “open mind” may they “KEEP RIGHT!” I hope that you take this message as serious as many politicians have taken the Hip-Hop community serious in this up-coming election.
If you seek clarification on any of the matters presented above, you may contact me at 305-472-2566 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Trust me. I have much more on my mind to express on this matter and I can share it with you if you so request it. I pray that this message reaches you in the best of health, both physically and mentally to inspire drastic change in your way of thinking. I urge you to repair the damage by publicly apologizing to KRS-ONE and the Hip-Hop community.
Urban America Enterprises, Inc.
Like the child who cried “wolf!” too many times and was eaten when he really needed the help of people who had grown to ignore him, the media and Bush administration are faced with such massive lack of credibility issues that we now must adopt a contrarian stance when taking what they say into account, especially when it comes to terrorism.
From the degrading and deplorable Abu Ghraib Iraqi prison scandal, to the wag-the-dog-like U.S.-implemented and staged beheading of Nicholas Berg, to the recently expressed desire for war with Iran, it’s apparent that the Bush Administration is scrambling to create further diversion and feelings of fear and division to rally support behind its wicked and out-of-touch policies.
So what can we do? Well, aside from community outreach and living by example, one of the best solutions is voting. The trouble is, I’ve read a lot of articles and heard a lot of discussion lately from people in our communities openly questioning whether or not we have any business voting. We do.
The simple fact is, if you can’t offer a concrete, tangible alternative to us exercising our rights and becoming a part of shaping decisions that affect us, then you have no business being opposed to galvanizing young people and people of color as a unified political force at the polls. Besides, y’all ain’t ready for revolution. So before you go saying how I’m “buying into the system” think about what it is exactly that you would do differently – and then ask yourself why you don’t. Like I said – it’s only a part of the solution. The strategy we must adopt is one that employs all of the tools that we have at our disposal to progress. Voting is one of them.
Are we are too lazy or disillusioned with the process that we won’t exercise rights that people who came before us died for? Voting doesn’t cost anything, so we can’t say that we can’t afford it (even though elections are held on Tuesdays, during work hours for many). Of course, it’s easy to say “f**k voting,” spark up the weed and turn on 106 & Park, but at what cost? We’ve seen the results of not voting – an illegitimate impostor in the White House, rollback of Affirmative Action legislation, poorer economic conditions and lack of employment opportunities, reductions in budgets for education and social services and increased instances of violence and police brutality – so why not opt for change?
Now I know you might not feel either of the major presidential candidates, especially with our recent discovery that they’re related – many don’t. But voting is larger than just the presidential race. What about the economy? Record unemployment and underemployment? Out of control gas prices? Shitty and unequal education? Lack of affordable housing? Why give conservatives and the existing powers that be an easy way out by not participating? They vote, and have an often unified support base that stresses the importance of participation to maintain their quality of life, often embracing policies and supporting politicians that don’t represent our best interests. It’s important that we participate too.
If we aren’t effective and our voices don’t matter, than why do they feel the need to cheat? To steal elections and keep us from the polls illegally? To establish a conservative media network? To keep us feeling disillusioned and disenfranchised, that’s why. To keep us thinking that we don’t matter.
How many people have you heard say that they’re not political? Here’s a news flash for you: you don’t have any choice but to be political nowadays, because everything is politicized. Politics is now pop culture, so you’d better adjust and become aware of the way things really are and what you can do to change our condition.
Opposition to voting often comes from the same people who don’t see the value in a college degree. Why is that? By not having the necessary credentials we give other people an easy out when it comes to dealing with us. As a rule, use every tool, every angle and every resource you have available to you to get ahead. As a people, we don’t have the luxury of adopting a stance of non-participation in anything that can be potentially beneficial to us. For too long we’ve sat by and allowed others to dictate the terms and conditions of our lives in our own communities.
We constantly hear commentary from conservative pundits on the state of things – barking about why it’s not right to question our “leader” during wartime – and calling anyone voicing dissent “treasonous” (and getting wealthy in the process). Think Sean Hannity (of Fox News) represents the everyman (he makes an 8 million dollar annual salary)? Or Bill O’Reilly (6 million)? Think again. (Funny how they dis easy-to-pick-on rappers but never discuss the profanity and imagery on Fox’s own Nip Tuck, the racism of COPS, or the misogyny of The Swan – but that’s another article.) These people vote. And they rally others who feel the same as they do to vote too.
We hear them say how much worse life was under Hussein in Iraq, and how U.S. troops are fighting to protect our freedom. But WE WERE NEVER IN DANGER from Iraq…and U.S. troops are being used in the worst way. They are there only to protect the big business interests of Bush’s buddies in high places – they ARE NOT protecting our freedom. The fact that Bush just signed a $417.5 billion wartime defense bill with an addition $25 billion for Iraq and Afghanistan pretty much drives my point home.
The world is full of dictators, but, luckily for them, they don’t have oil. Sorry-ass Saddam and his weak country would still be among the living nations if they had not had oil. Also still alive would be over 900 American servicemen and women, tens of thousands of Iraqis and hundreds of thousands of wounded-for-life people.
This is especially important to us because we’re the ones who die, and we’re the ones the military places a disproportionate amount of focus on recruiting as was evidenced in Michael Moore’s excellent movie, Fahrenheit 9/11, which I encourage everyone to go out and see.
And while we’re on the subject of Fahrenheit 9/11, let me say that there have only been 3 points raised by those in opposition to the movie, and they are that 1. Moore never mentioned Great Britain in the “Coalition of The Willing,” 2. that Iraq was misleadingly portrayed as a utopia before we decimated it, and 3., that Moore is racist because of his portrayal of the countries willing to stand by the U.S.
There are still no other valid arguments against the points raised in the movie (all of which, coincidentally, were detailed on Sonic Jihad and on www.guerrillafunk.com 2 years ago). The rest is true and cannot be refuted, and Moore has even publicly considered offering a $10,000 reward to anyone who can find a factual error, according to TIME magazine.
What it really boils down to now is that we are at a point in time where people simply believe in what makes them feel comfortable, even if the facts presented to them point to the contrary. If people know something is foul and needs to be set right, they agree that there needs to be regime change here. If, however, they are uneasy and in denial about the fact that the Bush Administration is full of @#%$, has lied to us, murdered people unjustly here and abroad for profit, reduced our civil liberties, is in bed with those we are supposed to be at war against, had a hand in facilitating the events of 9-11, and actively solicits young people of color to use for its war machine, then they tend to agree with the lies of the current White House occupants.
Only the evil or the misinformed are supporters of this administration, and they are the same people who don’t flinch when their conservative heroes are caught lying and give that standard bullshit “I take personal responsibility” speech. You know the one – the speech that’s designed to shut up detractors in a hurry (Tony Blair just gave it about WMDs) – as though saying it makes things A-OK.
Let’s all take our own form of personal responsibility and vote this November.