When rising R&B star and Odd Future singer Frank Ocean revealed his first love was a man on Independence Day, there were immediate and very public displays of support. But a few weeks later, it sort of reminded everyone that there still hasn't been a single popular, openly-gay rapper.
Unless, of course, you count closet rumors. Most recently, Havoc claimed his Mobb Deep partner Prodigy had gay sex in prison. After initially denying the accusatory tweets, he later owned up to them, and added that Deep was on "hiatus, indefinitely" because of the implications of what allegedly happened to Prodigy in jail.
So clearly, hip hop and homosexuality still have a conflicted relationship (I guess 2001's Eminem/Elton John duet didn't permanently heal that rift). Recently, Snoop Dogg and Ice-T weighed in on the much-discussed yet still mythic possibility of an openly gay rapper emerging.
"There might be some gay rappers in hip hop that's having success, for real, you never know," Snoop Dogg recently said. "There might be someone right now that hasn't pulled a Frank Ocean yet, that hasn't jumped out of the closet to the living room to make that announcement.
"When I was growing up, you could never do that and announce that," Snoop said. "There would be so much scrutiny and hate and negativity, and no one would step [up] to support you because that's what we were brainwashed and trained to know."
That kind of talk is a change in pace for a rapper like Snoop. Although he recently reinvented himself as the reggae-singing, peace-minded Snoop Lion, he has a history of dropping gay slurs. Perhaps most memorably, he described Bill O'Reilly as a "f**got white-bread chicken shit" in Ludacris' track "Hoes In My Room."
Gangsta rap legend turned Coco-loving reality TV star Ice-T was less enamored with the idea of a gay rapper when asked about it recently, though. "It would be difficult to listen to a gay gangster rapper," he said. "If you're a gangster rapper like myself and Ice Cube ... if one of us came out and said something, that would be a big thing. That would be like, 'Whoa! What?'"
He might have a point. After all, Havoc worked with Prodigy for 19 years and experienced immense success, but he brought the duo to a screeching halt when he started to believe that "Prodigy was f--king homes in jail."
So why does the hip hop world have such an aversion to homosexuality? Nicki Minaj once offered her two cents: "People view gay men as having no street credibility," she said. "But I think we'll see one in my lifetime."
Even if a proudly gay rapper has yet to emerge, several straight MCs have come out in support of gay rights. Macklemore released a pro-gay marriage track earlier this year and recently told us how growing up with gay uncles influenced his outlook on the subject. Not to mention Jay-Z's public endorsement of Obama's stance on same-sex marriage. Heck, even 50 Cent said, "Only a fool is really going to go against same sex marriage at this point." And while that's not exactly the most rousing endorsement of same sex marriage, it's better than nothing.
What do you think? Is hip hop culture ready for a gay male rapper?