Hip hop and sexuality: Is the culture finally ridding itself of homophobia?


Words have power – rappers know that perhaps more than anyone – but for all their lyrical genius on the mic, many of the culture’s most celebrated rappers have fallen short on this. 

Eminem has been forced to confront his use of the F-word and other gay slurs throughout his career, while others, like Kanye West, have perpetuated the term ‘no homo’ through their lyrics. 

J Cole drew criticism when he used the F-word three times on his 2013 track Villuminati but later said it was used to highlight the issue of homophobia in rap. In 2015, Travis Scott apologised for hurling gay slurs on-stage at a gig when he felt the audience weren’t being enthusiastic enough. 

However, what others aren’t saying offensively through their words, they’re expressing through their fashion in a more positive way. 

If you squint at the genre’s history, you’ll notice that male rappers in particular have gradually blurred the stereotypical lines of what’s deemed to be masculine and ‘straight’ through fashion statements. 

This is what has become the dominating conversation in recent years; rap artists expressing themselves through ‘feminine’ clothing and behaviour typically associated with women.