Changing hateful language in hip hop

decline in language

I like this article on anti-gay language in hip hop (although the title seems unnecessary).  The above graphic is from the much hated rapgenius.com (not affiliated with the GZA).   But the graphic was included in a nice long write up on Gawker by Rich Juzwiak where he does some lyrical analysis.  While discussing a Frank Ocean lyric Juzwiak writes:

“This is a conversation that hasn’t made its way to mainstream hip-hop before now. It’s probably not as tidy as the most sensitive listeners would prefer. There’s ambiguity there as to whether Ocean’s proposed gunplay is a reaction to homophobia (because saying “faggot” is wrong) or an insult (because being “faggot” is wrong). Ocean is typically terse and selective on these identity matters—it’s possible that he’s still working out this question himself.”

When talking about the number of hit records that seemed to have made it without needing verbal violence toward gay people, Juzwiak explains:

“Hip-hop doesn’t hate gay people. Not all of it, at least. Even when it stumbles in these attempts, even when rappers don’t exhibit the full enlightenment that we’d want from them (Too $hort: “Just go with it, it’s just a lifestyle, you know, so whatever“), it’s still making attempts at engagement, which is more than it was doing even last year and far more than it was doing two years ago.

Still, we’re talking about a vast, varied pool of points of view and opinions. There’s still plenty of homophobic language.”

Here is the link to the article.

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Filed under communication, Gay, hip hop, music, representation

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