Rapper Lil' B made headlines at the Coachella music festival over the weekend after he announced that the title of his upcoming album will be "I'm Gay." Now, as more mainstream artists attract attention for embracing the industry's gay fans, Lil' B may be the first well-known rapper to openly court them. He told the crowd:
"I'm gonna do the most controversial thing in hip-hop. Ya'll heard it first. And I'mma just show you that words don't mean shit. I'mma make an album called 'I'm Gay' right. Now I'mma tell you why I'm the first person to do it in hip-hop and why you're the first people to know my reasons. I'm just gonna tell you. So many people be worried about what people mean and definitions of words and shit...Now I like women, I love women, you feel me. But within yourselves, no matter what you do, it doesn't matter, it's like live life. You've only got one life to live. Be happy."
You can see the whole thing in the video that's above.
To be sure, 21-year-old Lil' B, who was born Brandon McCartney, who identifies as straight and became popular during the Bay Area's hyphy movement, is no saint. He's known for using questions about his sexuality to make headlines. Already, he's got a freestyle titled "I'm a Faggot" and, as HipHopDX notes, famously tweeted, "If Kanye West Doesn't [sic] Acknowledge Me Over Twitter And Work With Me On Music, When i see him im going to fuck him in the ass -- Lil B." And his songs are still laced with good doses on misogyny and sexism.
Previously, the rapper talked about his sexuality in an interview with Complex. "It's a touchy subject. I respect the hell out of gays and the gay community. I'm not a gay man. I don't agree with sex with another man or fucking another man or giving blow jobs to another guy. That's not my thing. I'd rather fuck a girl, fuck her in the ass, fuck her in the mouth or something."
Lil' B's capitalizing on a seemingly opportune business moment in hip-hop. Earlier this month, iconic New York DJ Mister Cee was arrested after allegedly having sex with 20-year-old Brooke-Lynn Pinklady. Amid the homophobic and transphonic backlash that followed, Kenyon Farrow wrote that homophobia's become a bad business model for hip-hop: "No one can afford to have already dwindling corporate sponsors pulled. These days, pissing off any audience that seems to be buying music, like them or not, does not make good business sense."
Farrow wrote on his blog this morning that while there may be other reasons to question Lil' B's intentions, hip-hop's still got a long way to go. "Now the question I have is when is the sexism and misogyny gonna go away in hip-hop? Will there ever be a reason, market forces or otherwise?"