Queerness in Hip-Hop or I am 95% sure Young Thug gets Pegged

Did you pray today?
Did you pray today?
I could dick you down on some gangster shit
Did you pray today?
I could put you down on the gangster shit
I could put you down with some gangster shit
Did you pray today?
Did you have a baby?
You got ventilation
Her sex is amazin'
She like penetratin'
I'll leave that pussy achin'

Thugger!

I’ll be honest; transcribing Young Thug lyrics is an arduous task. No one but Young Thug can verify what Young Thug is saying, though perhaps Jerricka Karlae could help considering she and Thugger are the only real-life incarnations of true love. Regardless, I recently made out a lyric that brought the sexual proclivities of hip-hop’s latest iconoclastic talent into question:

She like penetratin’

Jerricka Karlae does not look like the type of woman to revel in high-quality leather and glass erotic goods, but what do we know? Last time I checked, pegging is mainstream now, and every cis-het woman considers it the holy grail of sexual exploits—that is, if Broad City is your cultural measure of our society’s prevailing thoughts on butt stuff. But we aren’t here to hash out a conversation on whether or not Young Thug takes it; this is a discussion of queerness in hip-hop.

Thugger has brazenly interrupted the status quo of what hip-hop artists have long considered gangsta. While queer rappers have made a break into the aisles of popular hip-hop and have since been making waves, starting labels, dancing on Pikachus and brewing up tweet storms, Young Thug has penetrated the mainstream with moody trap production and a fascination with the usual hip-hop fodder of drugs, sex, and money. His music is great; it’s a testament to next-level production, but his subject is uninspired—he’s just a good rapper.

That’s where Young Thug’s similarities to other artists end.

His presentation, marketing aesthetic, and demeanor are at first glance grotesque, garish, and seem as if purposefully unattractive. But any analysis of Young Thug that manages to transcend the topical will inadvertently reveal the true breadth of the talent, vision, and queer-adjacent glory that belongs to the artist formerly known as Jeffery Lamar Williams.

Young Thug is a revolutionary; his sartorial choices alone are enough to inspire discussion regarding hip-hop’s long-held reactionary ideas about sex and gender. In a world of Lil Scrappy’s (who is hardly relevant at this point) and Wack Flocka Flames, who have displayed few qualms over criticizing the growing visibility of trans folks, Young Thug is a light in the darkness for Queers who love hip-hop. This is an artist who wears crop tops, Kevlar, and mini-skirts all while espousing the traditional wanton violence of hip-hop poetry. He is a fucking angel among men—and by the way, angels are traditionally described as genderless. Young Thug don’t believe in gender. How can you refute such evidence?

The world of black music hasn’t always been receptive to the idea of femme representation, and queer artists have been working hard to fill that void. Gender non-conformity is typically associated with white artists such as David Bowie and Annie Lennox, leaving Prince’s well-documented revolt against the binary in the back seat. It’s typical for white narratives to overtake black ones, but things are changing.

Now, queer hip-hop is dominated by Black artists, and while they carve that space out, they are supporting each other on the road and featuring each other’s talents in the form of quick interludes and album skits. They’re vegans, unapologetically black, and incredibly astute in the ways of black love—queer or not. In all honesty, this new class of rappers that is willing to lyricize the merits of feminism and the avoidance of fuckbois is the greatest representation of what has always been a truly multifaceted Black identity.

Prior to the emergence of queer voices like Dai Burger, Mister Wallace, and Junglepussy, the popular image of “black culture” was one-note. We liked strippers, money, weed, designer brands, and oral. Now—and definitely before Young Thug’s rise—we look like culturally-conscious people who know the specific merits of curated consumption: rocking Vetements, feasting at Whole Foods’ hot bar, and drinking Kombucha. It’s not that queer rappers are whiter when it comes to their interests, they just know that everyone--in particular Black people—deserve better. Love yourself, eat healthy, and only smoke good weed.

So is Young Thug really our Lord and Savior, who may or may not be getting pegged while his mixtapes rotate on urban radio every hour on the hour? Or is he a product of an already established movement of queer black talent? I go with the latter; before his music and his skirts ever inspired derisive headlines from hip-hop media (see here) musicians like Le1f and Azealia Banks were rallying against a growing trend to remove blackness and truth from hip-hop altogether. Banks revealed she battled with BPD (but good luck finding that tweet), and Le1f went in on Macklemore’s pandering “love always wins” anthem “Same Love”. Now, after all that hollering the floor has opened up for more colorful voices. Queer folks finally have a solidified place in the world of hip-hop.

Still, I’ll only say we’ve made it when Young Thug’s camp gets back to me on the meaning of that lyric—we called the number he lists as his on IG. No answer yet.


Zaida J. is currently a Features Editor here at WUSSY and a self-described transgender loud mouth.