Hate-Hop: Gay-bustin' rhymes
by Jim Provenzano

Since the rise of rap, negative
associations have plagued the genre.
While encouraging themes of
"respect" and "love," many of rap's
celebrities have either been arrested
for assault and shooting charges or
been shot themselves.

Ice Cube, Cypress Hill, DMX, Big
Daddy Kane, Chupac, Dr. Dre, and even the Beastie Boys have included
anti-gay lyrics in their music. Audio Two's second album included a song
with lyrics denouncing "faggots" who hang around the Village like meat
and "get punched in the face."

Of all these groups, only the Beastie Boys have not only apologized, but
have made outreach efforts to repair the negative attitudes espoused on
their tracks.

Paul V., a gay Los Angeles­based promoter and DJ, hosts hit club nights
(www.dragstrip66.com) and managed the rock band Extra Fancy fronted
by openly gay and HIV-positive Brian Grillo. V. admits that he does "kinda
dig" Eminem, and acknowledges his skills as a rapper.

But when L.A. Times music editor Robert Hillburn made a point of citing
Eminem's homophobia, it upset him, he said, because he'd been wanting
to play his new CD at his clubs.

Now that won't happen. "That's one small way I can protest stuff like
this," he said. "If I find an artist offensive, especially homophobic, I won't
play their music. What bugs me the most is that homophobic lyrics, and
the humor of using the word 'faggot,' is still acceptable in our culture. So
is violence. To me it's all related."

Although he doesn't see art directly inspiring violence, V. is skeptical
about whether Eminem's fans read sarcasm or context into his lyrics.
"There's no other group that he's targeting the same way, with the same
negative hatred."

V. is for a boycott. "Don't spend your money on these artists. It's working
with 'Dr.' Laura's sponsors. She has the right to say what she wants, but
that doesn't mean major corporations have to support her."

Although called "the most dangerous record label in America" by Senator
Bob Dole, Interscope's other acts range from the queerish metal angst of
Nine Inch Nails to the bubbly fun of No Doubt. The problem for music fans
is deciding whether to buy a CD of a band that's gay-friendly from a
company whose other artists aren't.

Message boards, rife with argument and opinion on the subject, do bear
the occasional words of truth, as in this posting: "Like Andrew Dice Clay,
since they choose to wallow in their shadowy behavior, in some
desperately dark and dusty closet is exactly where they and their CDs will
end up two years from now."

As for Eminem's own closet, it will be full of Grammys.

<SPAN CLASS=H3>More on Hate-Hop</SPAN>
<LI><A HREF="http://www.phatfamily.org/dadislist.html" TARGET="_blank">Da Dis List: Homie-phobia in lyrics</A>
<LI><A HREF="http://www.thebody.com/poz/backissues/10_96/badrap.html" TARGET="_blank">AIDS and rap</A>
<LI><A HREF="http://www.agoron.com/~matthewk/quick/minstrels.html" TARGET="_blank">Rap as minstrelsy</A>
<LI><A HREF="http://www.daveyd.com/gaynews.html" TARGET="_blank">Why don't more gay hip-hop stars come out?</A>