Rap and hip-hop have always been homophobic and rely heavily on toxic masculinity to attract audiences and sell. However, not everyone who listens to rap and hip-hop thinks that this tradition is the only way to make music in the genre and stay true to their values. California-based Chicano rappers Deadlee and Baby Boi Slim are building the homo-hop genre to add it to the rich lexicon of rap and hip-hop. These two men are gay Chicanos from California who identify with themselves and believe that rap doesn’t have to be anti-gay.
The term Chicano has somehow become synonymous with tough guys, hyper masculinity, and pride in Mexican heritage for most Mexican-Americans on the West Coast. However, the term Chicano was never intended to be synonymous with hyper-masculinity – it was created to be a unifying and organizing tool by Mexican-American youth inspired by the civil rights movement to advocate for needs and needs. unique experiences of Mexicans. Americans. Chicano – and its sibling term, Chicana – are meant to be inclusive terms to describe the subculture of being two places (Mexico and the United States) simultaneously and no place at the same time.
Famous chicano movie, El North, perfectly captures the reality of being stuck between two worlds literally and figuratively. In fact, the genre of Chicano films is so diverse that it includes cult classics like Selena, the biographical film on the singer’s life; Blood in blood, a film about three young Chicano men from central Los Angeles who have various gang connections during their teenage years and how they break away from or strengthen them as life progresses; and feel good movie Stand up and deliver, which focuses on the lives of students in an underfunded school and how their teacher, through their ability to culturally relate to them, is able to help them excel in various aspects of their lives . The common denominator of most Chicano films is the feeling of being moved to either side of the so-called home border and having to create a home and family on their own terms.
When you live at the intersection of several marginalized identities, the feeling of displacement can be even greater. For young gay men of color who enjoy rap and hip-hop, it can be difficult to hear the hyper-homophobic rhetoric in his lyrics. On the one hand, you enjoy a genre of music created by black immigrants from the Caribbean to the Bronx; but on the other hand, you hear homophobic slurs as a way to juxtapose “real men” (read cisgender heterosexual men) with “fa ** ots” (read men who have sex with men and for some reason aren’t ‘real men’).
The homophobic roots of rap / hip-hop
Ten years after the founding of hip-hop in 1983, Grand Master Flash, a pioneer of the genre, used the homophobic insult fa ** ot in his song, The message.
Five years later, a quintessential Californian rap group released a song called “Gangsta Gangsta,” whose lyrics included: “We didn’t have any play from the ladies. With six niggas in a car, are you crazy? She was scared, and it showed. We all said, “Fuck you, bitch!” and I continued; ” and “So we started looking for big ass bitches like her, but she keeps crying “I have a boyfriend” – bitch, stop lying! A silly whore is nothing but a dyke. NWA was no stranger to the use of homophobia and toxic masculinity in their music. These lines are laden with toxic masculinity, insulting women, intimidating them, and using homophobic slurs when their bullying and advances are not met the way they wanted.
The release of the group’s biographical film, Straight out of Compton, was plagued by this toxic masculinity and homophobia and yet some of the widespread violence against women was left out. Popular Inflate it host Dee Barnes recount the very real violence caused by NWA and now multimillionaire Beats tycoon Dr. Dre she was the victim of. While Dr. Dre is now synonymous with household brands and music, Dee Barnes alleges that she was not even paid a million dollars in settlement for the case she brought against him. She also believes that her choice to seek justice for the abuse she suffered from Dre led her to be blacklisted again for no longer working in Hollywood.
Male chauvinism in Latino communities is equally widespread and violent. At the 2018 Latin American Music Awards, Gloria Trevi finally spoke after years of silence over the abuse she suffered from her then producer Sergio Andrade. Trevi unfairly served a prison sentence in Brazil and Mexico, although he did not serve any sentence. Those four years alone cost him millions of dollars in lost wages, loss of credibility in the public sphere, and time spent away from loved ones because of one man’s crimes.
Sex workers in the Dominican Republic are constantly abused and murdered by the police. The pressure not to be “feminine” as a man is so great that men literally refuse to use reusable canvas bags because they “are too feminine”. Artist Reggeaton Bad Bunny is often taunted with homophobic slurs for explore the presentation of gender like a proud Puerto Rican artist.
Chicano hip-hop artists
All of these layers of homophobia, misogyny, toxic masculinity, and violence are just a few of the things that Deadlee – real name Joey Lemar – and Baby Boi Slim fight against in their art. Deadlee believes that due to his masculine appearance, he feels like he “always comes out as gay.” People assume that because he looks like the archetypal Chicano and rap, he must be straight. Deadlee however, was happily married to his 10-year-old partner, Jose. He basically launched the Homo-Hop genre in 2002 when he released his first album, 7 Deadly Sins.
While Deadlee is considered the first openly gay rapper and a pioneer of the Homo Hop genre, Baby Boi Slim is a newcomer to the scene and just as keen to make his mark on the genre and the Hip-Hop community in general. “I am a mixed race Black White & Chicano so I am not claiming a single one, ”he told us. “I actually have an otuP (PUTO) mosaic track on my new cd. A song in Spanish and another, BLACK FAG, about black queers; and even a country rap song.
Baby Boi Slim and Deadlee collaborated in 2018 on a song titled “How Can You Prove”. A love song that comes and goes between two gay Chicanos discussing their respective perspectives on the relationship they share. Listening to it it sounds like any other love song you would hear about the trials and tribulations of relationships, but when you realize that the song features two men and these men identify with each other as gay Chicanos you really get a sense of how deep and daring these men are as openly gay hip-hop artists and Latino men.
Their simple appearances really sum up how inclusive and diverse being a Chicano is. Deadlee sports a shaved head, long goatee, bandana, and rugged-looking exterior; but her smile and gentle demeanor can brighten up a room. Baby Boi Slim is, as the name suggests, slim, wears fierce makeup, and talks about the realities of growing up in inner-city neighborhoods of Los Angeles that have been hit by street violence, and how that made it. harder than people expect. “Hip-hop is more upbeat and catchy, whereas I consider my music to be Chicano rap, ”he told us. “My music is more about the struggles of growing up Gay, Brown, and the neighborhood. Usually, not many people can cope with this lifestyle, so many choose to leave it. Others face it, and my music is a reflection of those who have chosen to stay.
The two rappers are inspired by the world around them and rap about gang violence, police brutality, love, and the struggles young Latino gay men face all at once. Their music makes it possible to know that they do not want to shirk their homosexual identity but that they are also much more than their sexual identity.
Music gives us life. We asked Bay Boi Slim what songs shaped him and created a playlist.
Deadlee’s 2009 song, “Good Soldier II,” chronicles how difficult life can be as a gay young man of color growing up in environments that are affected by systemic white supremacy, strict heteronormative cultural expectations and wanting to be true to yourself.
Comments under Deadlee and Baby Boi Slim videos, articles, and profile downloads can be downright hateful and violent. If it’s just the online risk these two men face for just being themselves, the real-world ones must be even more serious. However, the pair continue to stand up for their truth as Californian-Chicano rappers who demonstrate that you don’t have to be misogynist or homophobic to be a rapper. On 56% of Hispanics have a favorable opinion on same-sex marriage and this number may increase as Hispanic youth are more liberal and more open-minded than their parents.
Some might say that the homo-hop genre is so marginal that it won’t succeed, but those naysayers should keep in mind that the genre of Chicano movie was born out of a super marginal television time slot that made it possible to broadcast local programming in the neighborhoods of downtown Los Angeles.
Every emerging genre begins somewhere, has its opponents, and grows as society evolves. Fortunately for homo-hop, Generation Z is one of the gayest generations to date, aspires to more diversity in the media and is more tolerant than any previous generation. Baby Boi Slim and Deadlee are hip-hop pioneers who prove that diversity, nuance and evolution of each genre is needed. They show that being street and heterosexual are not synonymous.