Gays and Hip-Hop: Le1f- “Wut”

Under the moniker of Leif,  the NYC rapper born Khalif Diouf spits to a sassy tune with a horn hook that just works its way into the ear and begs for some  gyrating to do this song justice. However, what’s  interesting about this song is that it now serves as a surrogate for another discussion about the relationship between LGBT individuals and hip hop. As Melissa Leon of the DailyBeast writes:

“If you’re just listening to New York rapper Le1f’s song “Wut”… the manic, bouncing track sounds pretty much like another shoo-in for year-end lists of best rap songs. It’s infectious and dancey and it landed Le1f on the radar of everyone from Rolling Stone to Gawker to theInternational Business Times.

If you’re watching the song’s music video, though, you’d not only see Le1f speed-rapping through one verse fast enough to put Busta Rhymes or Twista to shame, you’d see him doing it from under a shock of purple hair, sitting on the knee of a mostly naked, oiled-down, Pikachu mask-wearing white guy. “This yuppie’s talking blah blah, he wants to Bink my Jar-Jar,” he raps with a hand on his hip and a grin. “He’s twinked out / I’m like nuh-uh. I’m laughing at ‘im like haha / I’m an emperor.” Booty-popping ensues.

He sashays around in a pair of purple Daisy Dukes and he twirls the long ends of his hat like pigtails. Le1f is a rapper who is openly gay.”

As a result of this information, Leon connects this fact to Frank Ocean, and the reaction to the recent string of “coming out” narratives:

“See What Frank Ocean Started?: Gay Rapper Le1f ‘Wut’ Music Video,” read black culture blog Bossip’s headline. “This Is What Happens When Rappers Start Admitting Their Gay? Hip-Hop Artist Le1f—Wut,” World Star Hip Hop. Despite the fact that Ocean is not a rapper and gay hip-hop existed long before him, the Internet asked for the zillionth time whether homosexuality would ever be accepted in the genre—and again, nobody had any answers.”

So let’s watch the video (and enjoy the music at the very least) shall we? Let the booty shaking begin!

This guy shouldn’t and isn’t merely noted for his sexual preferences: he produced Das Racist’s breakout hit, “Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell” (something I feel mixed about, but I digress) when he was only 17. In the end though, I cannot help but feel that this concern over a gay rapper is derived from the tensions that exist between LGBT black individuals and other members of their community.  As the American society begins its transition towards gay acceptance because it is “the right thing to do” and “on the right side of history” so will the African-American community, rappers included. In the meantime, Le1f’s bumping track “Wut” demonstrates that a certain fearlessness in the face of such resistance, rapping that “I’m the kind of John closet dudes wanna go steady on / Toss my gems up, raise the bar, Yung Phenomenon / I make a neo-Nazi kamikaze wanna firebomb”. So take the swishing and dancing from the music video and juxtapose it with the   confident and defiant lyrics, this combination is going to help change the dialogue of the concept of the gay rapper.

Le1f: “Wut” (Right Click to Download)

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