Queer Voices in Hip Hop
Cultures, Communities, and Contemporary Performance
Positions queer and trans hip hop artists within a longer tradition of Black queer music
A free online version is forthcoming. This open access version made available by Society for American Music and American Musicological Society, supported in part by NEH and Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Notions of hip hop authenticity, as expressed both within hip hop communities and in the larger American culture, rely on the construction of the rapper as a Black, masculine, heterosexual, cisgender man who enacts a narrative of struggle and success. In Queer Voices in Hip Hop, Lauron J. Kehrer turns our attention to openly queer and trans rappers and positions them within a longer Black queer musical lineage. Combining musical, textual, and visual analysis with reception history, this book reclaims queer involvement in hip hop by tracing the genre’s beginnings within Black and Latinx queer music-making practices and spaces, demonstrating that queer and trans rappers draw on Ballroom and other cultural expressions particular to queer and trans communities of color in their work in order to articulate their subject positions. By centering the performances of openly queer and trans artists of color, Queer Voices in Hip Hop reclaims their work as essential to the development and persistence of hip hop in the United States as it tells the story of hip hop’s queer roots.
Praise / Awards
“With careful attention to musical sound, lyrical content, and cultural context, Lauron J. Kehrer brings the submerged Black queer lineage of hip hop to the surface and shows how Black queer and trans rappers from Big Freedia to Young M.A to Lil Nas X and beyond have pursued their careers while balancing artistic goals and industry expectations. Queer Voices in Hip Hop is an accessible and insightful read that provides a welcome riposte to the persistent erasure of Black queer people from hip hop history and culture.”
—Maureen Mahon, author of Black Diamond Queens: African American Women and Rock and Roll
“Queer Voices in Hip Hop resists the demonization of hip hop as a flat, toxically masculine space and the inaccurate gender binary that has had a hold in the field of music research on hip hop and identity performance.”
—Alisha Lola Jones, author of Flaming? The Peculiar Theopolitics of Fire and Desire in Black Male Gospel Performance
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