Homohop, gayhop, queerhop: these are all terms used to describe a vibrant subgenre within hip-hop that has its roots in the work of artists who have been producing music for decades. Not to generalise, but they are all extremely cute, and were all being queer and saying queer things in the hip hop and rap scenes long before Macklemore came along
The only UK-based rapper in this list, RoxXxan spits about loving and fucking women with lyrics that pop with an energetic wit. Her sound borders on harsh and is unsettling at moments; RoxXxan takes no prisoners with her gritty and raw beats, with her raps touching on topics like queer culture, politics, and music.
Pansexual and proud, Angel Haze’s tomboyish presence is increasingly making her mark in rap. Lyrically impressive, she uses rap to talk about her experiences as a rape survivor, and her experiences of being a queer woman of colour. Check out both her freestyle tracks, as well as her phenomenal covers of songs like Cleaning Out My Closet, and Bitch Bad.
Considered a grandfather of queerhop, Tori Fixx has been around since the mid-90s. His songs range from the personal to the explicitly political; his 2004 album Marry Me included songs that expressly argued against the anti-gay politics that dominated in the early 2000s, as well as tracks that detailed the domestic life he shared with his partner at the time.
Deep Dickollective are no longer making music together, but their influence in homo hop has been wide-ranging. Founded by Juba Kalamka, Tim’m T. West, and Phillip Atibta Goff, the group formed after West struggled to get gigs when proprietors learnt that he was gay. Their political poetics touched upon issues of race, sexuality, and the construction of hyper-masculinised subjects in hip-hop.
Both as a rapper and producer, he is known for unorthodox production styles. He attained initial fame for his work with Das Racist, but gained recognition for his solo work with the release of his mixtape Dark York last year, which experiments with elements of house and techno. He runs the hip hop label Camp & Street, the name of which should give you some idea about his adherence to hegemonic masculinity. He also hilariously tweeted about Macklemore’s white, heteronormative privilege.
Cakes Da Killa
Cakes wears flower crowns and for that alone, I am into him. As a rapper who sings a lot about having sex with guys, the 21 year old has been challenging the norms of rap since he released his first EP, Easy Bake Oven Vol. 1, in 2011. Invested in dismantling both the heterosexual, misogynistic, and ethos of hip-hop, and the mainstream de-sexualised representations of queer sexualities, Cakes Da Killa sings about queer lust and love with an accessible flow that is both loud and vivacious.
German-born, American, Meshell Ndgeheocello is an openly bisexual singer-songwriter, vocalist, rapper, and bassist. While Ndegeocello doesn’t call herself a hip-hop artist, claiming that the now white consumer-driven has lost its countercultural roots, her music incorporates hip hop, rap, funk, soul, R&B, and jazz elements that has given her a career that has spanned over a decade and ten studio albums.
Speaking of the masculine, where Deep Dickollective tended towards the lyrical and melodic, Last Offence, spits out the hard beats, rapping about fucking guys, and the institutional bigotry that sits at the intersection of race, and homosexuality. He frequently collaborates with other homohop artists (especially Bry’Nt and Nano Reyes).
Sissy Nobby emerged out of the New Orleans bounce scene, where he continues to make significant contributions, along with other sissy bounce and sissy rap artists. Sissy’s work fuses elements of bounce, electro, rock and hip hop into energetic tracks that both fuck with gender stereotypes and disrupt the hyper-masculinity of the genre. Along with Big Freedia (also queer), Sissy Nobby is one of the most popular and prolific artists on the bounce scene at the moment.