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.

Party Cancelled

Elevate's Kats for Kids event tonight at the Sunset Club has been cancelled because of some kind of contractual drama. It's not a weather related cancellation, so don't let that stop you from going out to the Turkey Trot at the Wachovia Atrium or barhopping elsewhere.