Will rap and hip-hop ever be ready for a successful openly gay or lesbian artist? The question has been asked repeatedly ever since Jay-Z and other leading hip-hop artists came out for equal marriage ... but said nothing about hip-hop's entrenched homophobia.
A number of openly LGBT artists in Baltimore are challenging that, reports the Baltimore Sun. Baltimore-based rapper DDm says he was inspired by "Omar Little", the Black gay homothug and stickup artist on HBO's gritty drama The Wire.
Omar, like DDm, was raw, aggressive — and gay. DDm saw enough in common with Omar that he named his mixtape, which drops next month, "The Omar Tape." "Omar was, of course, homosexual — but was respected and feared in a lot of cases, and I feel such a correlation in terms of that," said DDm, who performs on the main stage at the Baltimore Pride Block Party on Saturday. "Because there are a lot of artists here who talk about me behind my back, but they have yet to battle me. They have yet to try me."
30-odd years after hip-hop debuted, there are virtually no mainstream gay rappers. But the 24-year-old DDm, whose given name is Emmanuel Moss, is one of a small but growing number of gay Baltimore hip-hop artists hoping to change that stereotype. ... [It] is still an uphill battle for LGBT hip-hop artists. For several local rappers who are out, there are still stereotypes — boxes they are placed in because of their orientation. There are lingering stigmas and other obstacles to being accepted by some of their peers.
When appearing in music videos, DDm remembers instances where people have walked away from him on the set because they don't want to be seen or associated with him. He said rappers have asked him to contribute to tracks in the studio, only to cut his verses from the final record, which he suspects has more to do with other people coming in and questioning his inclusion than the quality of his rhymes.
Host of the Da Doo Dirty Radio Show, DJ Baker, sat down with Hip Hop artists’ Baron and Go DDm, CEO of Digiwaxx Media Corey Llewellyn and cultural critic/writer Greg Tate to discuss the growing LGBT movement in hip hop. The panel addressed a range of issues from stereotypes within hip hop culture to the lack of intellectual coverage on the topic in mainstream media. ... As DDm expressed during the panel, would Jay be willing to sign an openly gay rapper? And is Beyonce taking a transgendered MC out on tour? Not yet. In fact it seems no one is.
DJ Baker spoke with me last month for EBONY in my report on hip-hop and homophobia. "We still have to address hip-hop’s negative attitudes toward homosexuality," he said. "Why can’t we be successful in hip-hop besides being a wardrobe stylist or a closeted producer? Why aren’t their openly gay rappers on major labels?"
You May Have Missed:
99 Problems, But Gay Marriage Ain't One [EBONY]
Rappers to Address Homophobia in Hip-Hop
Lil B Releases HIV Awareness Song "I Got AIDS"
"No Homo": Rappers Refuse Gay/DL Role
Kanye West Angry at Gay Rumors
Kanye: "I'm Secure in My Manhood"
Kanye West Responds to Gay Rumors
John Legend & Cornel West vs Homophobia
Kanye on Gay Bashing
Common One of the "Coolest Straight People"
Hip Hop Teen Idol Lil Romeo:"Gay is Okay"
Busta: Gays Better Not "Touch It"
Ja Rule: MTV "Promoting Homosexuality"
Busta's Homophobic VIBE