Tuesday, November 21, 2006

R we ready for a gay rapper?

On Sunday, Cazwell showed me why it's going to be a long time before an openly gay rapper goes mainstream.

Before his show at the Forum on Sunday, I watched a couple of his videos on YouTube, and I thought he had crossover potential. He looked and acted like a skinnier Eminem, with sarcastic lyrics, a dry delivery and a hip-hop look. In other words, other than the boys in the video and the fact that I knew he was gay, Cazwell didn't act like a queen. Furthermore, he rapped over house beats instead of hip-hop beats, which added freshness to his style.

In person, though, Cazwell discarded his rougher edge and stepped onstage shirtless (he needs to visit the gym) and wearing satin-y black pants. He looked like a queen. If you're going to be a rapper, it's tough to tiptoe between thuggish and tiara, especially if you don't have strong lyrics.

I love the idea of artists taking rap music and creating a sound that reflects their lifestyle, and if Cazwell's goal was to only appeal to a gay crowd, then he would be fine. During an interview, however, Cazwell said he wants to cross over into the mainstream and get radio airplay. He needs to seriously butch up, completely queen out or totally step up his rap game so his appearance won't matter.

Cazwell makes me wonder what will it take to get an openly gay rapper airplay on MTV and BET, and on Power 98 and 96.1 The Beat.

My guess is the person will spew "I'll kill you" lyrics like 50 Cent, or be a super-queen like RuPaul.

But my preference would be to see the emergence of an openly gay who's intellectual -- in the vein of Common, Talib Kweli or Mos Def -- or a pop rapper like Sean Combs. He cranks out hits that make it on the radio and MTV's TRL. In interviews, this gay rapper talks about his male lover, and at the Grammys, he's sitting next to his man.

What do you think? Will we ever see an openly gay rapper? Post your replies below. NO profanity.


fara said...

I'm impressed with the balls the gay rappers have to do this, but I'm not ready to explain to my kids or other children why a man acts or looks like this on t.v. or radio. I would NEVER promote it. I'm pretty sure they'll do good anyway because it's new and the gay population is so large.

Anonymous said...

I just don't understand why it matters if the performer is gay or straight? Do we have to judge everyone on their sexual preferences?

Anonymous said...

I'd never heard of this guy before, but I have heard of other gay rappers here and there. No, they haven't reached any level of mainstream success. But it's bound to happen sooner or later. I don't care about the sexual orientation of a performer, as long as the music is good.

Anonymous said...

I left a comment on wednesday about this and for some reason you didn't see fit to print it. Let me try again. What possible difference could it make to anyone what sexual preference this person has? Must we judge his music by his sexuality?

Anonymous said...

If we as gay people focus on us being gay, then every straight person has a right to judge us based on our sexuality. I am a very successful business man who just so happens to sleep with men. I rarely focus on "who I sleep with", therefore my employer, friends and family could care less. If I don't make it the subject of my existance, then they follow suit and just like me for me.

Anonymous said...

A lot of people, including myself, do not care more about the sexual orientation of a musician than then their music. But that isn't the point, is it? It's like this guy is trying to look like an idiot--as if he believes gay people have to dress like that and act so flamboyantly. Perhaps he's a good singer, but he's only making things worse for himself by fitting into a stereotype.

Anonymous said...

I think that most of the comments are right, sexual orientation shouldn't matter when it comes to music, but in the rap game, image is everything (particularly in mainstream). Years ago, you wouldn't have thought that some clean-cut nerdy looking skateboarder from Chi-town would take the rap world by storm, but Lupe Fiasco has been labeled the next best emcee by heavy hitters like Rakim and Jay-Z because of his lyrical skills. I definitely don't think the rap world is ready for an openly gay "flamin" rapper right now, but you never know....if he has the skills, anything can happen.

shanaynaylachild said...

he needs the gym? i can tell from ya thumbnail you're a husky dyke. I've seen that show and he's fit and fine. And you sound homophobic. wonder how you'd react if he started saying niggaz and hos - would he be butch enough then, tonya?