Run The Jewels Discuss Homophobia In Hip-Hop With Stretch & Bobbito (Audio)

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Hi. We recently created AFH TV, Ambrosia For Heads’ streaming video service, because we believe real Hip-Hop deserves its own dedicated TV home. But, there are doubters, so, we need your help. If you have enjoyed anything on AFH over the last 7 years, we are asking you to subscribe to AFH TV. It is only $1.99/month or $12/year, and already features some amazing content, but the best is yet to come. Thank you for all of your support.

During Hip-Hop’s formative years through the 1990s, homosexuality was a taboo topic that held little to no real estate in the culture. For years, highly regarded MCs used facets of gay lifestyle as emasculating punchlines. But, during the past two decades, popular artists like Kanye West, Murs, Macklemore and Lil B have called Rap fans and artists alike to embrace maturity and political correctness against homophobia alongside the machismo in lyricism.

Run The Jewels’ Killer Mike and El-P spoke at length about homophobia in Hip-Hop on Stretch & Bobbito’s What’s Good NPR podcast today (September 6).  At the 12 minute mark in the clip below, Killer Mike admitted that his late gay cousin, Phil from the Bronx, was Mike’s purveyor of New York-based Hip-Hop who frequently sent him recorded cassette tapes of Stretch & Bobbito’s legendary WKCR college radio show during the 1990s.

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Killer Mike stated: “Your guys’ show, I couldn’t listen every week like [El-P]. So, it took my gay cousin, who just found out that I like Rap, to just start showing love!” He continued, “And my cousin was funny. He was just gay, he wasn’t a sucker. He talked better sh*t than my uncles.” Mike suggests further in the interview, “I’m an activist, right? I want everybody to be equal. The day after equality happens, I’m talking sh*t to everybody [Laughs]”

Bobbito lamented that he and Stretch made egregious jokes about homosexuality on their college radio show, which alienated some gay listeners. El-P stated in response to Bobbito’s remorse: “You grow up.” He added, “If you look at Hip-Hop now, and you look at the culture now and the way people do it…comparatively, the way it used to be, Bob, the way it used to be, it’s very rare now for people to full-on say something that’s really homophobic or say something that’s really insensitive to a group of people because collectively we all ended up educating ourselves and grew up a little bit — became men.”

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You can hear the 30-minute interview of this great discussion, which also includes embracing humanity over political differences and much more below.

Earlier in the interview, Mike made a strong point about Black culture during a discussion about white rappers and inclusion. “Let’s give Black people and Black music some credit: they are a very inclusive bunch. You know, Black people don’t really keep people out of their thing. If you say to a Black woman on the train, ‘I’ve always wanted to go to a Black church,’ she’s gonna invite you to her church. If you look at Rock & Roll, they never tried to keep white artists out. Black people are a good people! In terms of culturally sharing with people. So as long as you have love and respect, and prove authentic, there has always been a way for people that have been let in the door that did right by it. Because you grew it. We need allies. That is my pet word. Like, none of us progress without allies. None of us progress. I am happy [about] the amalgamation of people that has taken and pushed this art form forward.”

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#BonusBeat: Remaining Run The Jewels tour dates:

09/07-10 – Raleigh, NC @ Hopscotch Music Festival
09/08-10 – St. Louis, MO @ LouFest
09/15 – New York, NY @ Meadows Music & Arts Festival
10/06-08 – Austin, TX @ Austin City Limits Festival
10/10 – Knoxville, TN @ Mill & Mine ^
10/11 – Asheville, NC @ The Orange Peel ^
10/13 – New Orleans, LA @ The Joy Theatre ^
10/13-15 – Austin, TX @ Austin City Limits Festival
10/18 – Oklahoma City, OK @ Diamond Ballroom ^
10/20 – Las Vegas, NV @ Brooklyn Bowl ^
10/21 – Sacramento, CA @ Monster Energy Aftershock Festival
10/22 – Phoenix, AZ @ Lost Lake Festival
10/31 – Stockholm, SE @ Annexet #
11/02 – Copenhagen, DK @ Tap 1 #
11/04 – Paris, FR @ Pitchfork Festival Paris
11/06 – Brussels, BE @ AB Hall #
11/07 – Amsterdam, NL @ AFAS Live #
11/09 – Manchester, UK @ Victoria Warehouse #
11/11 – London, UK @ O2 Brixton Academy #
11/14 – Birmingham, UK @ O2 Academy 1 #
11/16 – Glasgow, UK @ O2 Academy 1 #

* = w/ Danny Brown and Eminem
^ = w/ Denzel Curry and Cuz Lightyear
# = w/ Danny Brown