Queer MC Deadlee tells hip-hop homophobes what they can suck
He may be gay, but don’t make the mistake of calling Los Angeles MC Deadlee a wimp.
In the last few years, the hard-edged rapper has earned a reputation for not backing down against hip-hop’s gaybashing, calling out some of the biggest names in the game. Hitting the homophobic MCs where it hurts, Deadlee has been bold enough to point out just how homoerotic DMX’s videos are, called Eminem a closet case, and told 50 Cent to “suck my gun.”
Not surprisingly, Deadlee’s loud and proud attitude has earned him broad attention. In the past year, he’s been featured in Rolling Stone, been interviewed for CNN and had his video in regular rotation on the MTV-owned LOGO network.
This spring, Deadlee will be headlining the Homorevolution tour. Reportedly the first event of its kind, the five-state tour will showcase a full night of GLBT hip-hop. With the show already on the road and the tour getting ready to invade Dallas on Sunday, Deadlee caught up with us via e-mail to talk about his experiences as an out artist and to give us his take on the burgeoning world of queer hip-hop.
When did the idea for an all-queer hip-hop tour first come up? When my manager and I were planning for 2007. We had originally planned a CD before the tour. But, oh well at least we have the tour. My new CD, “Intifada” will drop at the end of the year. Other artists on the tour have new CDs, too.
Were you already familiar with the people on tour? In 2005, I was featured in the documentary “Pick Up the Mic,” which profiled 18 GLBT hip-hop artists from around the world, so I knew some of them. What I didn’t know was how many more there were. We all seemed to gravitate toward each other on Myspace.
When did you decide to be an openly gay artist? My old producer advised me on it. He thought I wasn’t coming across real, and I needed to just be who I am. That’s really what it’s all about now being myself and not needing to hide my sexuality.
What’s the reaction been like? Rappers seemed to be the most upset by it. The punk rock and indie scene in L.A. was more accepting and tolerant. They thought it was “cool.” But the rapers and DJs? Not really.
Is there anyone in hip-hop who has gone out of their way to foster good relations with the gay community? Well, obviously, Kanye West has made some good gestures. But the question is, was it just lip service? Kanye needs to put actions behind the words. Someone like him could do a lot to help us if he was to produce or collaborate or something. He could make a real first step.
Has your prominence as a gay MC led you to more up and coming queer artists? Are you buried in demo tapes? Yes! I had to switch my contact info to my manager’s info because I was getting all kinds of calls and e-mails. I do check some of their stuff out, though.
What do you think is the key to mainstream acceptance of queer hip-hop artists? I don’t know if it will ever be completely accepted, but I do know that people are driven by the beat. It’s just a matter of time before someone crosses over. When they do, it’ll be because of the beat first, not whether they’re gay or not.
Is there anything you’re looking forward to while here in Dallas? I’ve never been to Texas. I’m looking forward to meeting some of the fans who’ve been hitting me up for years now.
HIP-HOP STOP IN BIG D
The Brick, 4117 Maple Avenue. April 8, doors at 8 p.m. $10.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 6, 2007