Straight black men dominate the rap industry. Surprise! But to what extent does this male-dominated field marginalize other groups from entering into this lucrative industry? While the industry has made some room for empowered, tough black women- Nicki Minaj, Azealia Banks, Angel Haze, to name a few- one group has been marginalized almost entirely: gay black men. Considering the uncontestable fact that the black community and larger society view black sexuality (especially black male sexuality) under a strict, precarious lens, this marginalization should come as no surprise. Nonetheless, regardless of any underlying political views on queerness, I would like to showcase 3 gay black male rappers that everyone should listen to and support because of their refined talent; talent that arguably supersedes that of more popular, straight male rappers.
1. Cakes Da Killa
Cakes Da Killa, also known as Rashard Bradshaw, is a 22 years old rapper from Englewood, New Jersey. Having released two albums- Easy Bake Oven in 2011 and The Eulogy in 2013- Bradshaw’s claim-to-fame is his vulgar attitude and seditious lyrics. He truly does not care what anyone thinks, and there is beauty and eloquence in that. Bradshaw discusses sex, homosexuality, among other things with songs likes “Goodie Goodies,” “Keep It Coochie,” and “Break ‘Em Off.” He has even been compared to artists like Lil’ Kim. Though Bradshaw has raw talent, if you can’t handle a gay male explicitly talking about his sexuality, he is not a rapper for you. You can download his most recent mixtape here.
2. Mykki Blanco
Myyki Blanco is the genderqueer rapper that has grabbed the spotlight with her raw talent and interesting departure from the gender binary. Blanco made her introduction onto the scene with the release of her book, From the Silence of Duchamp to the Noise of Boys, released in 2011. After which, she released her first EP, Cosmic Angel: The Illuminati Prince/ss. Her flow is not only uniquely melodic, but also candid and sassy. Note that Blanco is the female side of Michael David Quanttlebaum, 24 years old. She does not consider herself a drag queen. For Blanco gender is fluid, and she demonstrates her male and female side within her music. Her most popular song is “Wavvy.” You can find her album here.
3. Zebra Katz
Zebra Katz is the stage name of 26 years old Ojay Morgan. Morgan blew up on the scene with his hit song “Ima Read,” demonstrating a slow and playfully sneerful style. Interestingly, the song uses the word “bitch” 87 times. Rather than engaging in the typical misogyny of popular music, Morgan claims that he wants to numb and reclaim the word-like Missy Elliot did in “She’s a bitch.” Related to this word play is the underlying importance of Ballroom Culture (seen in Paris is Burning)- where “read” means to “flex your bitchiness.” His song was even chosen by fashion designer Rick Owens, and used in Paris Fashion Week. Check out his two albums- “M M X II” and “DRKLNG” on iTunes.
I encourage you all to check out the aforementioned artists. Moreover, I urge you not to reduce these artists to their sexuality solely. They are gifted, dynamic, and revolutionary artists, serving raw talent in an industry they aren’t necessarily welcomed in.