Buzzing New York Rapper Le1f Responds to Homophobia

"I’m proud to be called a gay rapper, but it’s not gay rap. That’s not a genre."

Le1f
Le1f
Chris Martins WRITTEN BY
Chris Martins

From Afrika Bambaataa to André 3000 to Danny Brown, rap has long been full of flamboyance, but no gifted MC has quite flaunted his originality in the manner of New York's Le1f via the just-out video for his bounce-addled track, "Wut." In one scene, wearing high purple daisy dukes, he slides across the floor, working his skinny legs like mechanical cranks edging him closer to the camera. In another, after a brag about "getting light in my loafers," he straddles the knee of a buff male model, fast-rapping with flair.

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Yes, Le1f is a gay man. His profile has been slowly growing since Greedhead (the label run by Das Racist's Himanshu Suri) dropped the free Dark York mixtape back in April. With beats by left-fielders like Nguzunguzu and Matt Shadetek, it's hardly the usual rap blog fare, but ever since the Fader debuted the "Wut" video on Thursday, the headlines have been accumulating, and some are downright shameful.

The worst comes courtesy of Bossip with the words, "See What Frank Ocean Started?" Meanwhile, the comment sections of the same blogs are on fire with the hate, homophobia and confusion that Ocean was seemingly spared (to some extent). In the Fader profile that ran yesterday, Le1f seems unshaken by the anger, and likens his swag to that of any other showy, sex-obsessed male in the business.

“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. I get guys the way straight rappers get girls. I’m not preachy. The best thing a song can be called is good.”

Read the rest of the profile via the Fader, and stream Dark York below.

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