Being a gay rapper isn’t limited to writing lyrics about being one. Rather, speaking on it alone is a huge step in advocating and normalizing the fact that “gay rapper” shouldn’t be an oxymoron or a stereotype.
Here are 21 LGBTQ+ rappers who came out despite rap music’s non-inclusive reputation:
1. Mista Strange
British drill rapper Mista Strange has spoken about the perils of underestimation that come from being a publicly gay rapper. He approaches the same topic on this track: “Won’t let me through ‘cause I’m back like Santan, Won’t let me through ‘cause I’m gay like Schofield.” He uses this negative feedback as inspiration for his bars and has no intentions of quitting, saying, “I’ve had people message me saying they came out after watching my video.”
2. Young M.A
Five-time platinum Brooklyn rapper Young M.A doesn’t hesitate to bring up her sexuality in her tracks. Music is a tool for her to honor and engage with her personal relationships, without being labeled as just another gay rapper. She once said, “I’m Young M.A… We don’t do no labels. I just wouldn’t date a guy. Nah, bro, I don’t like that.”
You may know of ILoveMakonnen from his 2014 hit Tuesday, which went viral for its catchy, iconic lyrics about turning up on a Tuesday. But, did you know he’s also been upfront on Twitter about being gay? He posted, “As a fashion icon, I can’t tell u about everybody else’s closet, I can only tell u about mine, and it’s time I’ve come out. (…) I’m gay. And now I’ve told u about my life,maybe u can go [live] yours.”
This candid and punny tweet likely took a lot of bravery to deliver in the 2017 music scene when being a gay rapper was more controversial.
4. Frank Ocean
Hip hop artist and rapper Frank Ocean came out as bisexual in a beautifully-written Tumblr post in 2012, which ends with the heart-swelling declaration that he “[feels] like a free man.” Poetic and poignant, this statement line seems to address the risk he’s taking in sharing this sensitive information with the world. However, it’s clear that he was and is proud and liberated by that choice.
Silky-smooth vocalist and rapper Syd has been outspoken about her queerness and makes a point to not let it get overruled by corporate agendas. She stated, “I love the responsibility of providing representation. But I think I’ve always tried to do that in the most natural way possible.”
6. Azealia Banks
Rapper Azealia Banks came out as bisexual on Twitter after accusations of being homophobic. She’s been known to criticize the mainstream LGBTQ+ community for topics like cultural appropriation and marginalization. Whether you agree with her Twitter controversies or not, they attempt to normalize speaking out for your beliefs, even if they aren’t the most popular in the media.
The 2020 XXL Freshman Chika identifies as bisexual and has spoken out about how women-loving-women relationships are often oversexualized. She mentioned, “As a gay female rapper, I have the opportunity to show my colleagues that being attracted to the female body doesn’t mean I have to fetishize it.”
8. Kevin Abstract
BROCKHAMPTON rapper Kevin Abstract has been consistently vocal about his sexual orientation, and he’s harnessed his rap career to do so. In fact, the first time he said he was gay out loud was in a recording studio, into a microphone.
9. Princess Nokia
Bronx rapper Princess Nokia refuses to be pinned down to labels, opting instead to embody a number of queer elements like androgyny and fluid relationships. Check out her hit Tomboy to see her embrace her own version of womanhood.
Rapper ppcocaine blew up on TikTok during the 2020 lockdown. She’s outspoken about not only her identity as a lesbian but her overall sexual nature. Her hit For That Cash is probably the raunchiest song on this list. Talk about an anti-prude anthem.
11. Lil Nas X
Lil Nas X came out as a gay rapper while his hit song Old Town Road held the number 1 spot in the Billboard Top 100 Chart for 19 weeks—the longest running since 1958. He’s been outspoken about his sexual identity since he rose to fame and offers a nuanced look at coming out while in the spotlight, stating, “Me being in this position, it’s easy for me. But some little boy 10 miles from here, it’s not going to be good for him.” He’s the symbol of a more inclusive, progressive market of both rappers and consumers.
12. Taylor Bennett
Rapper Taylor Bennett chose to take his bisexuality public on Twitter to try to help others struggling with their own identities. By being open about himself, he has encouraged his fans to be true to themselves and has shown them it’s normal to struggle in that process.
13. Snow Tha Product
Independent rapper Snow Tha Product believes that coming out can be a powerful way to enhance your art. She’s able to be especially honest and authentic in her music because she isn’t hiding her attraction to women from anyone.
14. Mykki Blanco
Mykki Blanco is an avant-garde, trailblazing rap and hip hop extraordinaire teeming with courage, innovation, and compassion for those who feel they need to hide. Her unique, jaw-dropping tracks are enough alone to consider her a powerful force in the LGBTQ+ community. However, she’s also the only living rapper who’s spoken up about having HIV.
The HIV/AIDs epidemic is still a controversial topic around queerness, but she chose honesty and realness over “living in the dark,” stating, “I’ve been HIV-Positive since 2011, my entire career. (…) it’s time to actually be as punk as I say I am. No more living a lie.”
15. Big Freedia
Big Freedia is the maestro of beats that make you want to throw it back. He unapologetically embraces femininity as well, leaning into an androgynous diva style in his fashion and music that makes the harsh gender binary seem irrelevant.
Hip-hop artist Le1f had his share of negative feedback not unknown to gay rappers when he came out in 2012. However, it hasn’t challenged his career. He has the kind of confidence and badassery to persist in the face of critics, saying “I’m kind of into it now that it’s about me, to be honest.”
BbyMutha doesn’t explicitly make music about their bisexuality and prefers to keep that part of their life on the private side. However, their resistance to the gender binary as a personal decision, rather than a public performance, which teems with authenticity and representation.
18. Cardi B
Many people don’t know that rap icon Cardi B is bisexual. In fact, she had to remind the world after Twitter users questioned it due to her relationships with men. She wrote, “I a*e b****es out before you was born …..Sorry I don’t have razr phone pics to prove it to you.”
19. Isaiah Rashad
Isaiah Rashad is known for his soft-spoken raps over dreamy beats, but now he’s spoken out about being unsure of labels but sure of his own sexual fluidity. He goes to show that you don’t always have to classify yourself to be queer.
20. Queen Latifah
Hip hop and rap legend Queen Latifah was quiet about her sexuality until the 2021 BET awards when she publicly shouted out her partner. She’s gone out of her way during her 35-year music career to promote equality and acceptance for all.
21. Cakes da Killa
Cakes Da Killa started rapping in his dorm room because he was bored. Years later, he uses his music to embrace his sexuality and explore beyond the gender binary.
Rap music hasn’t always had the most inclusive reputation. In fact, there was a time when artists’ careers were at stake due to suspected homosexuality. However, as new generations of music creators and consumers emerge, it’s becoming increasingly encouraged to wave whichever flag you carry.
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