It’s Pride Month! The rap landscape has evolved since MCs started grabbing the mic in the early 1970s, becoming more inclusive of other styles and cultures. From soft-spoken lyrical poets to hard-hitting dance anthems, LGBTQ+ rappers have blossomed into some of the genre’s biggest stars. They’ve carved out their own space at the forefront, like Lil Nas X, igniting fashion trends and social media challenges and garnering adoring fans across the entire spectrum. Here are 10 awe-inspiring Black LGBTQ+ rappers to round out your playlist this Pride Month.
Lil Nas X
He’s only 24 years old, but Montero Lamar Hill has undoubtedly become a household name under his stage name, Lil Nas X. After catapulting to fame with the eternally catchy country-rap song “Old Town Road” in 2019, the star has continued to make waves with his personality and music. Lil Nas X has refused to shy away from controversy for his art, like the highly discussed music video for his song “Montero” in 2021, and has fiercely embraced every aspect of who he is, inspiring young fans to do the same.
Although Rashad Spain first served as a makeup artist for the rap collective City Girls, he soon launched his own successful rap career under the name Saucy Santana. Since releasing his debut studio album “Keep It Playa” in 2021, he has shared tracks with the likes of Madonna and fellow rapper Latto. He’s determined to make the rap space a more accepting place for queer creatives and keeps putting out viral singles, like "Booty" ft. Latto, that have exploded on spaces like TikTok and Instagram.
The Atlantic Records rapper found acclaim from both audiences and critics alike after the release of her mixtape Cloud 19 almost a decade ago. Kehlani’s music has found fans from all walks of life, from the softer R&B song “Honey” to the harder-hitting song “Gangsta." In 2021, the Oakland, California, native officially revealed to fans that she identifies as lesbian, continuing to be an inspiration for those who carve their own success stories in rap.
Although most are familiar with Frank Ocean’s soulful vocals in his beloved R&B songs, the singer also spent part of his career as a member of hip hop group Odd Future. The California native has worked with some of the biggest names in the rap game, like Jay-Z and A$AP Mob. Ocean has been open about his sexuality in public and in his music and has since ascended to icon status thanks to his ability to put out an eye-catching look at events like the Met Gala.
Making her rap album debut in 1994, Da Brat is now a veteran of the rap scene. The rapper has a lot of firsts under her belt, including her debut album Funkdafied achieving platinum sales, making her the first solo female MC to do so. After finding her own solo success with her label, So So Def Records, she went on to collaborate with other large '90s acts like Kris Kross, Missy Elliott and songstress Mariah Carey. These days, the rap pioneer has settled down with her wife, Jesseca "Judy" Dupart, as they embark on a parenting journey.
Young M.A has long been praised and celebrated by her fans. A quadruple-platinum rapper, the Brooklyn native has garnered millions of streams on popular tracks that feature her unique style and authentic, revealing lyrics. Young M.A, or Young “Me Always," has been nominated for MTV Awards and has also started her own charity foundation to assist families in need.
Cakes Da Killa
Cakes Da Killa has committed to making the hip-hop space more welcoming for queer and gay artists like himself. Gaining an audience following his 2016 release “Hedonism," the rapper has found a following among other young LGBTQ+ listeners due to his raw, unapologetic lyrics. He has also branched out into the world of television, making an appearance on the Netflix competition show Rhythm and Flow, where he takes time to dismantle harmful stereotypes that the LGBTQ+ community has faced in the rap space.
An up-and-coming rapper, Hymtherapper has been working nonstop to bring his vision and creativity to the masses. Also referred to as Hym, this songwriter and dancer has ambitions to become a defining voice of his generation and a defender of others in the gay community. New and current fans alike can keep up with the musician’s releases on his Soundcloud page.
Once known to most as a member of the rap group Brockhampton, suburban rapper Kevin Abstract has since made a name for himself through his solo career. His honest lyrics discuss topics like depression and isolation from his point of view as a young gay man from Texas. With his group, he released popular projects such as 2018’s "Iridescence,” which helped them become a regular name in mainstream pop culture.
In recent years, the rapper known as Bbymutha has refused to adhere to any sort of label on her identity. The rapper has instead committed to crafting a powerful and intimidating stage presence and fostering a sense of community. The songwriter has recently treated fans to songs off of their new EP titled Muthaleficent 2, released in 2021.