Is There Room For a Gay Man in Hip Hop?

Atlanta is the home of trap music. We were the first city to commercially trademark the word a few years before the Y2K scare. The classic 808 drum machine defines past and contemporary trap. (That’s the drum machine that lays down skittering hi-hats clicks, shrill open hats, heavily saturated kicks, snapping snares, and most importantly, the trunk-shaking 808 basses that have set it apart from the sample-based 90s boom-bap days.) Mainly, its musical formula consists of the breakdowns you can hear in the realms of metal.
Lyrically, the themes explore the nefarious side of the sphere which includes the unsmiling insight of selling narcotics (out of the trap house), impulsive drug consumption, gloating of misogyny, stacking guwap (Gucci Mane), committing felonies, and being subjected to relentless violence. It’s rapped about like a nonchalant recap of the day.
But trap is also a glimpse into post-traumatic stress disorder and a clear justification for having an unfeigned distrust of the world.
Within the last decade, trap music has found itself in an experimental stage that delves toward psychedelic consumption, eclectic fashion senses, and unorthodox musical deliveries that have set artists apart from one another. It’s been gifted the name “weirdo rap” (amongst other unnecessary pitchfork-esque subgenres). It’s not weird. In fact, it’s happened before. But there wasn’t the internet to allow a universal movement to flourish.
Although there is a higher influx of liberal perspectives when it comes to fashion — an undeniably gay industry — there is still a significant portion of trap that refuses to acknowledge that LGBTQs co-exist in their kingdom. It’s as if a person’s sexual orientation devitalizes their susceptibility to the wrongdoings of the world. In any lot, it’s quite the contrary. Watch “Moonlight.”
ILoveMakonnen, Atlanta’s own rapper and singer, became acquainted with the scene in 2008. The Atlanta native rose to prominence with his hit track “Tuesday,” which features Drake and went platinum.
On January 17th of 2017, ILoveMakonnen tweeted that he is, in fact, gay. There have been many rappers who’ve come out before him, but not in the scene that Makonnen entertained. He was the first in the Atlanta trap scene. His tweet was audacious. Makonnen was well aware of the possible consequences that rendered following his revelation. The artist received backlash from fellow Atlanta rappers, Migos — a trio that Donald Glover mistakenly called the “Black Beatles.” This backlash wasn’t in passing conversation; it was in a Rolling Stone interview, and they were on the cover. The release of the issue was followed up by a truly shoddy apology concocted by their public relations team, presumably after a tiresome compromise. But it’s apparent that the trio — who had the number one record at the time — knocked Makonnen’s reputation down a notch amongst the trap fan base which is a crying shame.
The interview was sheer impertinence toward the steps of progression, especially amongst the black community. When Makonnen was truthful to himself, it was an indirect revoking of all his lyrical credentials and contravening the entirety of his demeanor. It’s an unfortunate way of thinking. ILoveMakonnen has carried on with his musical career as an unsung hero in Portland, Oregon. His tweet showed the true colors of those who extoll in the charts. What are we doing, folks?