New York based rapper/artist Le1f has been making moves as of late. With a string of live performances and releases, including Dark York and a killer remix for XXXchange, Le1f is leaving his mark on 2012’s collection of big digital music releases.
Amidst all this work and music notoriety, some backlash has surfaced on the Internet when Le1f premiered his music video “Wut.” The raging level of homophobia shielded by cyber-anonymity seen this past weekend on WorldStarHipHop, Bossip and other websites revealed how far back society has set itself through the discrimination aimed at Le1f. I won’t go into detail the level of obscenity toward the music from an artist who may be considered “different” from you and I, but I will say it was a bit unsettling for me as both a fan and acquaintance of this hardworking artist.
Though Le1f has managed to brush off the negativity with the ease and poise of a thick-skinned professional, I would still advise him to take the comments and the weight of the voices projecting them, and know that the ignorance of others comes due to a lack of exposure to something so different. Anyone who feels the need to speak so zealously about a particular subject as superfluous as one’s sexual orientation is delusional to two basic truths: 1) it’s 2012 (duh!) and 2) hip-hop was born for all as a means of expression from impoverished and oppressed situations. Because of these two phenomena, the content and dynamic of people who can spit, flow, and/or create music (quality) is and ought not be limited to a handful of select and certain people (i.e. straight, black, white, etc.). Music and art is universal and speaks to people both inside and outside of your immediate sense of community. In the case of Le1f—gay or not—his musical content resonates great vibes in the club scene of New York and beyond, gaining notoriety for his style and flow from the likes of Fader, Pitchfork, and Rolling Stone.
To those afraid of something different: let a person rock with their craft. You may like it if you open your eyes and ears. If you don’t like it, that too is quite alright. I would recommend you either: a) realize that the popular mainstream music of BET and MTV and others like them find influence, both lyrically and aesthetically from talented outlying artists such as Le1f, or b) wait for the bandwagon to get big enough for you to fit.