“I am gay, and I’m proud to be called a gay rapper, but it’s not gay rap. That’s not a genre. My goal is always to make songs that a gay dude or a straight dude can listen to and just think, This dude has swag.... The best thing a song can be called is good.” Rapper/producer Le1f, in a short bio article on Fader
, which mentions Le1f being swept up with the "more outlandish" (as Fader writer Alex Frank puts it) House of LaDosha
and Mykki Blanco
. The Guardian has another piece on the rise of gay rappers
, but the Amoeba blog was there first
in 2008, covering a bit of the New Orleans sissies
. More videos and music directly linked inside (and you can assume the music and videos are NSFW).
In the New Orleans Bounce
scene, Katey Red
, a gay, transvestite MC, was the first artist to perform as an openly gay artist, releasing her album in 1999
). Big Freedia
and Sissy Nobby
picked up the torch from there. You can dive into the music with 53 minute Sissy Nobby party mixtape
, or check out Dre Skull
's Sissy Bounce mix
From there, we travel north to Brooklyn. House of LaDosha is a duo who were earlier associated
with the witch house
sound, as heard in Witches of Bushwick
. Dosha Devistation, half of HoLD, released B/M/F
, which was less witchy, but still far from mainstream rap styles. Cokeola of HoLD rapped over a Trap Music
track from Gunplay
, moving from witch house to trap music, more or less.
Mykki Blanco is the drag persona of Michael David Quattlebaum Jr.
. As Quattlebaum, he wrote a book of poetry
, which was passed to Mykki and became an EP that is more punk
than hip-hop, though there's something of the latter in Join My Militia
a song that clearly displays Blanco's use of "hip-hop as a performance medium."
, stage name of Ojay Morgan, has been big since Rick Owens played the Katz' song on repeat for a Paris fashion show
. Katz got to geek out and meet Owens, with the meeting filmed for posterity and education
, with Katz mentioning Paris is Burning
; covered previously
) as an eye-opening film for him.
And that brings us to Le1f, the Manhattan native who started out as a producer
, hanging out with Himanshu from Das Racist, and providing the beats for Combination Pizza Hut And Taco Bell
). Later, he produced Nasty
for Spank Rock
(the track featured Big Freedia, to make this whole journey more circular). Le1f then branched out and started rapping, as seen and heard in his debut video, Wut
. If the lyrics or their meanings elude you, Rap Genius has you covered
. This track is from Le1f's debut mixtape/album, Dark York
(Soundcloud stream with individual track downloads, and a link to download the whole thing