There was a time, not too long ago, when the term “LGBT rapper” did not exist. Of course there were lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender rappers out there but, the truth is, they simply were not accepted by the mainstream hip-hop community. As recently as 2012, it was considered somewhat taboo for Jay-Z to come out in support of gay marriage. Around the same time, Odd Future was catching flak for their overuse of a certain anti-gay slur that’s been around rap for decades. In 2017, Jay-Z’s mother came out as lesbian on 4:44 and Tyler, The Creator confirmed on Scum Fuck Flower Boy that he’s maybe, but maybe not, gay or bisexual, like fellow Odd Future members Frank Ocean and Syd.
Those are still the most high-profile examples in hip-hop, and, despite Macklemore’s best intentions with “Same Love,” the genre has yet to accept a truly mainstream LGBT artist. But advances have still been made, and the fact that there are enough rappers to fill this playlist (as well as enough bad LGBT rappers that not all of them had to be included) shows how far the genre has come in a relatively short period of time.
This playlist begins with the hits, in an attempt to prove that ILoveMakonnen and Young M.A. make songs we all like, regardless of their sexual preferences. Then we get into artists that have become icons of LGBT rap, like Le1f (pictured above), Cakes da Killa, and Big Freedia, as well as younger artists like Kevin Abstract and his Brockhampton group that consider being gay normal and probably wouldn’t even want to be on this list at all.
The only non-LGBT artists here (aside from the aforementioned Jay-Z) are Chance the Rapper and Jeremih, who feature on Taylor Bennett’s song “Grown Up Fairy Tales.” They’re included because Taylor Bennett revealed earlier this year that he’s “a bisexual man,” and the fact that Chance—one of the world’s most popular, Christian rappers—is supporting his brother’s sexuality is yet another small but significant testament to the genre’s progress. (Even though Bennett’s other song on this list is called “Straight from the Bottom,” it’s also good.)
There are a lot of openly LGBT rappers now, but things will be better when we don’t categorize them in that manner at all. In the meantime, enjoy these songs, all of which are great regardless of their creators’ sexual orientations.