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The Confusing Message About Homosexuality in Hip-Hop

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There’s no denying that in the world of hip-hop, homosexuality has come a long way from what it once was. Frank Ocean came out the past year the first major homosexual artist in the industry. Artists like Jay-Z, 50 Cent, and A$AP Rocky have boldly come out in support of their gay counterparts. Meanwhile, artists like Macklemore and Cakes Da Killa are writing songs about same love and the hypocrisy of homophobia. But while the country and hip-hop’s greatest artists are gearing up for change, there is a battle going on at the front lines.

For every artist that makes a positive remark about the LGBTQ community and pushes hip-hop a step forward, there’s another artist waiting to knock it back. Apart from Tyler the Creator’s and Azealia Banks’  constant defense of the word “faggot”, two artists have been thrust into the limelight recently because of their homophobic lyrics. And rather than apologize or acknowledge that their lyrics may be offensive to some, both J. Cole and Lauryn Hill have denied and defended what they’ve written.

Lauryn Hill’s song “Neurotic Society”, which faced harsh criticism, states

“We’re living in a joke time, metaphorical coke time/
Commerce and girl men/
Run the whole world men
…Quick scam and drag queens/
Real life’s been blasphemed

Serial criminals dressed in variety/
Social transvestism/
Subliminal dressed up as piety”

What was more perplexing than the obvious homophobic lyrics was Hill’s confusing response given on her tumblr page. She says,

“Neurotic Society is a song about people not being, or not being able to be, who and what they truly are, due to the current social construct. I am not targeting any particular group of people, but rather targeting everyone in our society who hides behind neurotic behavior, rather than deal with it.

The world we live in now is, in many ways, an abhorrent distortion, an accumulation of generations and generations of response to negative stimuli. Many don’t even have a concept of what normal is, by virtue of having lived afraid, ashamed, as victims of abuse, or inadequately handled for so long.”

While it’s not 100% clear what Lauryn Hill’s stance on homosexuality it, J. Cole is making his message blatantly clear. While he claims to be using his lyrics as a way of creating a dialogue about the very type of language abuse he’s using, nothing about his lyrics read as satire.

“My verbal AK slay faggots
And I don’t mean no disrespect whenever I say faggot, okay faggot
Don’t be so sensitive
If you want to get f***ed in the ass
That’s between you and whoever else’s dick it is
Pause, maybe that line was too far
Just a little joke to show how homophobic you are
And who can blame ya”

While homosexuality has made great gains in the world of hip-hop, J. Cole and Lauryn Hill prove that the fight is far from over. For society’s attitudes to truly change, everyone is going to have to jump on board. Not just a few artists who are brave enough to stand out.


Mackenzie is an Alabama native attending NYU and studying Journalism and Dramatic Literature. She hopes to one day live in London and write for the BBC.