“Villuminati,” the lead track on J. Cole’s upcoming album, attempts to provoke thoughts on homophobia by being blatantly homophobic.
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It's a confusing time to be a gay person who listens to hip-hop. In one ear, queer rappers like Zebra Katz, Big Freedia, and Mykki Blanco among others are combining the genre's trademark bravado with a fierce aesthetic that's both overdue and refreshing. Emerging rapper Cakes Da Killer nails it best when he raps about spitting "that shit that make a homophobe a hypocrite." Understandably, more than a few rappers, critics and fans would like to argue that we've entered a new era in hip-hop.
But then, in the other ear, rappers like Azealia Banks and Tyler The Creator continue to defend their use of the word "faggot" while Lauryn Hill debuts a long-awaited new track, only to criticize drag queens and "girl men." And then, along comes J. Cole's upcoming album Born Sinner, the lead track of which "Villuminati" features perhaps the most homophobic lyrics I've heard from a major artist in the last few years. We'll get to the lyrics in a moment. First, though, join me in marveling at J. Cole's explanation of the lyrics in a recent interview with the Huffington Post:
"There will soon come a day when people in general, and rap artists specifically, are going to have to answer for their past usage of the word 'faggot,' much like the Grandfathers who are ashamed that they used the word 'nigger' as kids. At a time when public acceptance of gay rights is soaring (rightfully), hip-hop culture and general are still battling with homophobia (not excluding myself). Rather than run from it I chose to attack it playfully. Those lyrics are meant to make everyone uncomfortable for the sake of this very conversation."
The only thing more confusing than J. Cole's defense of his lyrics are the lyrics themselves. Are you ready?
Like, really though. These lyrics are about to stress you out.