Since same-sex marriage was made legal in the United States in 2013, thereby solidifying the acceptance of the minority group in the human tapestry of the country, there has been a snowball effect in the integration of gay men and women in various spheres of the American life. However, despite the declaration of acceptance on the pages of US law, gay members of certain communities have still found it challenging to be publicly gay; most notably in politics and hip-hop. Nevertheless, there has been a slow integration of homosexuals in these communities, so much so, that we have a list of famous rappers who are gay.
Change, they say, is constant and hip-hop which is primarily a macho filled industry is now witnessing a revolution of talents who are openly gay. Some of them are budding artists who have let their sexuality become a part of their identity as they grow through the industry while some found the courage to come out after years of being established members of the industry. Regardless, there is a growing change in the relationship between Hip Hop and the gay community and it is tending towards complete acceptance.
In this list, we document a few rappers who are leading the fight for the acceptance and normalization of minority groups in hip-hop. Check out our list of famous rappers who are gay.
1. Frank Ocean
It is perhaps impossible to talk about gay rappers and queer influences in hip-hop without talking about Frank Ocean. The rapper, who is also an acclaimed singer, producer, and photographer is the most famous names in the hip-hop gay community and one of the biggest names in Hip Hop as a whole.
He came out as a gay artist in an unexpected quintessential dramatic fashion in a 2012 Tumblr post, announcing his sexuality to the world. He received support across various sections of hip-hop including from behemoths, Jay Z and Beyoncé.
Frank Ocean has released two albums to critical acclaim and resounding commercial success, proving to aspiring queer artists that their sexuality is not a barrier. He also has multiple Grammy nominations to his name, including a win for Best Urban Contemporary Album for Channel Orange. Alongside the Grammys, the reclusive rapper has several other major awards to his name.
2. Young M.A – Famous Rappers Who Are Also Gay
While the battle rages on among mainstream hip-hop followers on who is the better female rapper between Nicki Minaj and Cardi B, Katorah Marrero – more popularly known as Young M.A– is quietly taking her place in history as one of the leading rappers in the country. The rapper has been nominated for a BET and MTV award as Artist of the Year and has been featured in high profile publications like New York Times and Vogue Magazine. Her sexuality, which is unapologetically gay has not kept her from featuring in global ad campaigns for major international brands like Beats by Dre, Pandora and Google Pixel 2.
In 2018, she was featured in a Forbes 30 under 30 list. If there is an example for what an aspiring rapper can achieve regardless of their sexuality as long as they have the talent, taking a look at the career of Young M.A. is all it takes to make the point, and she’s still got plenty of milestones ahead to reach.
3. Mykki Blanco – (Michael David Quattlebaum Jr.)
One of the major issues facing the gay community regardless of their industry is HIV/AIDS. With the disease just finally seeing a global decrease in stigmatization, being HIV positive and gay in the hip-hop world is basically playing life in ‘hard mode’. But Mykki Blanco has chosen to live his truth and he is one of the rising names in the industry. The California born rapper has had a difficult beginning to life and according to him, considered quitting music but the support he has witnessed since he came out as an HIV positive gay man has inspired him to keep going.
He currently has a studio album, Mykki, to his name which was released in 2016. He has also released several other EPs and mixtapes. His second album is scheduled to be released in 2019. With the trail he’s blazing, he easily earned a spot on our list of famous rappers who are also gay.
4. iLoveMakonnen (Makonnen Sheran)
The roster of famous rappers might still be heavily tilted towards straight rappers but in a few years, when the big names like Jay Z, Eminem or Kanye West have retired, the tapestry of hip-hop musicians would be racially and sexually diverse and one of the rappers who will be leading that charge is iLoveMakonnen. The American rapper had risen to prominence since he had his song remixed by the Canadian rap legend, Drake. Since then, his name has been on the lips of many hip-hop fans. He has worked with prominent producers like Metro Boomin, Mike Will Made It, and 808 Mafia. He is currently signed to Warner Bros. Records.
5. Kevin Abstract (Clifford Simpson)
When Frank Ocean came out in 2012, the general belief was that it would inspire other artists to live their truth and come out and use their voice to drown out the stigma in the industry. It was a move that was expected to have effects that would manifest 5 to 10 years after it happened but surprisingly, it has had an immediate impact. Kevin Abstract, who is a multi-talented rapper and video director credits Frank Ocean for inspiring him to come out. The rapper has infused his life as a gay man into his music, hoping to let his truth do what Frank Ocean did for him after he penned the Tumblr post. He has two studio albums to his name, MTV1987 and American Boyfriend: A Suburban Love Story. He is also a member of a boyband, Brockhampton.
6. Azealia Banks – Famous Rappers Who Are Also Gay
Azealia Banks might be more famous for her often controversial views and behaviors on social media but the rapper, singer and actress outspoken nature has helped create a narrative where LGBT artists make the news for things other than their sexuality, enabling the integration of gay artists as just people with normal lives dealing with their own regular problems and challenges. Azealia has two mixtapes to her name and a studio album that was released in 2014. She is currently signed to Interscope Records.
7. Queen Pen – (Lynise Walters)
Before the Supreme Court made life easier for gays, some have had to endure the difficulty of living in the shadows, both in their community as people and in their profession as musicians, especially hip-hop. Lynise Walters, who goes by the stage name of Queen Pen has been a professional rapper since 1994.
She has several charting singles to her name, which has earned her Soul Train nominations. She once released a song titled “Girlfriend” which caused controversy in the hip-hop community because of its overt lesbian themes. The controversy forced her into a three-year hiatus before she returned to release an album in 2001.
Queen Pen is also a writer who has released two novels – Situations: A Book of Short Stories and Blossom: A Novel.
8. Big Freedia (Freddie Ross)
You probably won’t find a more daring rapper than Big Freedia. Her inclusion on our list of famous rappers who are also gay went without saying.
The New Orleans based rapper is credited as the Queen of bounce music, a genre of hip hop popular in New Orleans. She has made herself a leading face of the genre. She has performed in various prominent platforms like the Last Call with Carson Daly, Jimmy Kimmel Live!. She has five studio albums to her name, with a most recent album, Third Ward Bounce EP released in 2018. She also featured in Drake’s Nice for What track.
9. Deadlee (Joseph Thomas Lee)
Deadlee is one of the leading voices in the gay hip-hop community who uses their music in combating the stigma and discrimination of homosexuals in the industry and the world as a whole. The rapper whose career began in 2000 is also currently married. As a controversial rapper who has not been shy to call out fellow rappers who he considers homophobic, he has made the news in major outlets like CNN, The Guardian, and Rolling Stone. He has two albums to his name, 7 Deadlee Sins and Assault with a Deadlee Weapon.
10. Zebra Katz (Ojay Morgan)
Zebra Katz started his career in the early 2010s with a breakout single, Ima Read. Ojay is a songwriter and a rapper who reached mainstream fame when a snippet of his song, Ima Read was used as a soundtrack at Paris Fashion Week. Although he is yet to release an album, he has several projects to his name, including two mixtapes, four EPs and three singles.
An honorary name on this list of famous rappers who are also gay is Queen Latifah who, although has never publicly admitted to being gay, is known to be in long-term relationships with women. Her last relationship, which was with Jeannette Jenkins lasted eight years and she has been spotted dating a new lady, Eboni Nichols. The rap and film icon may not yet have confirmed her sexuality but her lifestyle has been an inspiration to the LGBT community.