Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Homoeroticism of "Punks Jump Up to Get Beatdown"

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I was on a road trip recently and "Punks Jump Up" came on XM radio,
so it was uncensored.
It had been a long time since I heard Brand Nubian
in all of their raw boom bapness. The contrast between the serenity of the
gold, orange, yellow
trees and the Rocky horns in the songs intro
couldn't have been more stark.

Yet there was something priceless about the moment.

I turned to Filthy and was like, why is Brand Nubian
talking about gay men so much? As both Sadat and Lord Jamar
mention gay folks in their verses.

Oh yes, Im the bad man, and bad men wear black.
And if it comes to droppin bombs, yo, Im with that.
Though I can freak, fly, floow, fuck up a faggot.
Dont understand their ways I aint down with gays.
-Sadat X

Did you want some more? I didnt think so.
Just got whipped like a faggot in the clink, so

I suggest you take your bloody mess and find a piece of wire,
Fix your broken jaw, then its time to retire.
-Lord Jamar
My first reaction was that was that it was quasi homoerotic.
No, I am not saying that Sadat or Lord Jamar are gay.
What I am saying is that looking back at the lyrics 15 years later,
in total, the lyrics are over the top, anti-gay and they make me wonder
why does doing harm to gay cats play such a central role in this song?

One answer is that what is present in American culture is acutely
obvious in Hip Hop. Crime, homophobia, single parenthood.
You name it, both America in general and Hip Hop specifically has it.

The irony is that I saw Sadat perform his verse of the song
this summer, and he did deleted the word "faggot" from his verse.
Granted the performance was in Park Slope, at Prospect Park, so
he may have inferred that it wouldn't have played too well in uber
gay friendly neighborhood.

Just a thought.

5 comments:

DJ Diva The Mixtress said...

I swear...as much as I heard that song...I never heard the "fuck up a faggot" lyric. That just shocked the sh*t out of me!

I'm not surprised though. Many men in hip use homophobic lyrics as if that would deter us from believing that they themselves are gay. Not calling anyone out (and you know I can) but there are many in the hip hop community that are undercover brothers. Whether it's looking at gay porn or taking backshots, the male hip hop population deems it better to hide their own personal truth but covering it up with pause and no homo. Why you so scared son? this is what homophobia means...scared of homosexuals. Why single out these men who have done nothing to you but breath your common air? Or is what you are really afraid of are your own inner desires?

It's funny...I asked my husband about rap and homophobia and one of the things he said was:

"I'm not homophobic. I ain't scared of gays at all. I don't need to trash them, beat up on them or none of that. So I'm not a homophobe...but what I am is anti-homo!"

Although that made me laugh my ass off...it made sense to me. If he's against the lifestyle, that doesn't mean he's afraid of it. I would look, with the side eye, at anyone who talks too much about it. As Shakespeare said "Methinks he dost protest too much"!

Welcome back!

M.Dot. said...

DD,

Thank you for your comment and your honesty.

What I didn't mention in the piece is that
I believe that homophobia is closely related to a general dislike for Women.
(perhaps I will edit).

It follows that Gay men are worse then women, because they are Men who want to be LIKE women.

If I may go there with you and your husbear, the first question that came to mind was
how does being anti-homo impact his interactions with gay folks?


"I'm not homophobic. I ain't scared of gays at all. I don't need to trash them, beat up on them or none of that. So I'm not a homophobe...but what I am is anti-homo!"
======
White folks have been known to say the same ish about Negros.

Kind of in the gristle. I know.

And it was Filthy who clarified that that is what Sadat X said, I never heard it either.
And just to date myself, I bought that song when it came out as a single. <<< Old bear.

Courtney said...

M. That is mad interesting about the whole homophobic theory. Eye opening, but I have to ponder that to get to the depth it.

But, from a different perspective, I had a gay male student and it seemed as if the other male students were AFRAID of him. They wanted to question him, like 'How did you GET like that?' They feared him because they were afraid of whatever he 'caught' or however he got 'converted' might happen to them. It was weird. They did not even want to make eye contact. When I got fed up with the whole foolishness, I let him lead a question and answer session. It was dope because they got to ask him directly about his lifestyle and they got a better understanding eye contact was MADE and they gave him peace after that. Whereas before that it was comments flying everywhere on GP. Once they realized that his lifestyle did not have to affect theirs, they fell back. Their aversion did not end, but it surely changed. It was lovely for all of them.

But to the whole BN song... damn. Didn't realize it was there either.

Model Minority said...

I had a gay male student and it seemed as if the other male students were AFRAID of him. They wanted to question him, like 'How did you GET like that?' They feared him because they were afraid of whatever he 'caught' or however he got 'converted' might happen to them. It was weird. They did not even want to make eye contact.
=========
Like its a virus.

The bugged out ish is I wonder how many of these same young bucks, who treated HIM like he had the heebie jeebies, had unprotected sex.

How we asses risk tells us alot, warranted or not, about who we are and or how we think.

Krisna Best said...

M. Dot,

Thanks for this post.

I think the fact that Sadat X refused to include that line in his performance is indicative of how queer folks have been appropriating hip-hop as their own which adds to its diffuseness. This doesn't mean that other artists aren't heterosexist or that their lyrics don't indicate the same, but the fact that queer communities are redefining what it means to be hip-hop has given the former pause.

What this does too is undercut arguments about any "inherent" heterosexism within hip-hop.

I'm glad DJ Diva brought up her experience with her husband because it shows how "homophobia" is an inadequate term. It ain't about being a language nazi because when folks say "homophobia" we know what they mean. But it isn't a phobia in the true sense, it's patriarchy, as M. Dot has said. And by consciously locating it within patriarchy, we get a clearer sense of why and how we struggle against it.

I got more to say on this, but I'll let the conversation keep rolling.

Krisna

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