In rap, the path towards progress is a merrily crooked one

Rebecca Nicholson
Offset, centre, said he didn’t mean queer, as in gay, but as in lame. Photograph: Cook/Variety/REX/Shutterstock

You don’t get many homophobic lyrics in rap these days. The last real push for the word “faggot” came from the Odd Future collective, whose members included Frank Ocean, who subsequently released a beautiful album about falling in love with a man; Syd, who is out and gets off with women in her music videos; and Tyler, the Creator, who rapped: “I been kissing white boys since 2004” on last year’s album Flower Boy. In hindsight, it’s hard to take accusations of homophobia against them quite so seriously.

So it was quaint, almost, to watch Offset from the trio Migos wrapping himself in semantic knots last week over the line: “I cannot vibe with queers”, which he raps on a guest verse for YFN Lucci’s track Boss Life. In the subsequent uproar, Offset stated that he loves fashion and thus respects gay designers and, besides, he didn’t mean queer like gay, he meant it like lame, strange or odd. You know, gay as in bad, not gay as in gay. See? Progress!

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