With its masculine posturing and aggressive lyrics, mainstream hip-hop has rarely been welcoming of homosexuality, whether it was the lyrics of Eminem in the early 00s or past proclamations by the likes of The Game and others. On the heels of Frank Ocean addressing widespread rumours about his sexual orientation, it appears new waves of fearless young rappers are claiming their space in the world of hip-hop that has always been notorious for its homophobic and sexist constructions. Even in a scene where domestic violence and sizzurp- sipping receive the ‘Only god can judge me’ excuse, it appears boy-on-boy action is the only taboo left in hip-hop leaving us with the question is homophobia in hip-hop at a tipping point?
Well 2012 seems to be the year of change full of New York gay rappers who are stepping out and sticking two manicured fingers up to the notion that hip-hop has no room for them. This year has seen forward-thinking mainstream rappers like Frank Ocean, A$AP rocky and Nicki Minaj create a fertile soil for these self-coined “queer rappers” who have the talent to match the hype. If you’ve flicked through the pages of Vogue recently you’ll of come across Zebra Katz and in case you haven’t, he’s the butch rapper who emerged blinking from the New York underground on the bright lights of Rick Owens fashion show in Paris. His single Ima read has created a bit of a buzz with its menacing minimal and bass-heavy chant that has become the queer raps crossover hit. First listen Ima read sounds like a pro-education anthem but a closer look reveals it’s so much more than ‘reading’ but the art of sophisticated insulting that is massive in the underground ball culture. Ojay Morgan the man behind Zebra Katz grew up in these balls that