Regardless of your taste in music, the rise of rap group Migos has become undeniable within the hip-hop community. However, the rise of a homophobic rap group should not be accepted or undeniable in a time like this. Having formed in 2009 when the trio (Quavo, Offset, and Takeoff) came together, they’ve made a name for themselves with singles such as “Bad and Boujee” and “Motorsport” featuring Nicki Minaj and Offset’s fiancée, Cardi B. However, the week of the “Boss Life ft. Offset” by YFN Lucci music video release, Offset came under Twitter fire on Thursday, January 18 for his homophobic lyric, “I cannot vibe with queers.”
In “Boss Life,” Offset raps:
Pinky ring crystal clear
40k spent on a private Lear
I cannot vibe with queers
Let’s pause for a second–was there no other rhyme? Did he simply stop trying? For someone who does not “vibe with queers” he seems to have no issue with rapping the lyric “Versace, Versace, Versace,” (the name of a very famous gay designer) over and over again. Offset has no problem using us, he just can’t “vibe” with us.
Once Offset became aware of the backlash, he proceeded to follow in the footsteps of the denounced artists before him and issued an apology that only made things worse. His apology, published via Instagram post, reads as follows:
I have said before since these issues before that I got love for all people. My passion for fashion has lead me to a lot of gay people around me who I have mad respect for and we are very cool so I’m not in a place where I’m hating like that. When I wrote that I was thinking of words that could rhyme with the others (here, lear, solitaire, bear) and I saw this definition about her having a queer feeling she was being watched and it fit what I was thinking about a stalker creepy paparazzi situation. To me that “queer” I don’t mean someone who’s gay. I mean lame people who film you, post it and stalk you. Lingo that means strange or odd.
I M S O R R Y
I A P O L O G I Z E
I’m offended I offended anybody.
My personal favorites are when he has to Google the definition of “queer” to prove he isn’t homophobic, when he compares “queers” to “lame people,” and the crowning jewel, “I’m offended I offended anybody.” So, to clear things up, Offset himself is offended that we are offended because he offended us. Some argue that he is using the textbook definition of “queer” and has no homophobic intent but I disagree. His lyrics refer to a stalker, someone in the paparazzi, someone he has a negative feelings towards. He is not saying they are odd, he is saying he doesn’t like them and wishes they weren’t around. To use the word “queer” in that connotation, he doesn’t simple mean the dictionary definition, he is feeding into a system of negative stereotypes that are now associated with the word. To use the defense that he simple means “strange or odd” is a feeble excuse when I doubt he would use that terminology in his everyday life.
However, this isn’t the first time members of Migos have shown their homophobic tendencies. Tracing all the way back to a Rolling Stone article from February 8, 2017, when the interviewer informed that iLoveMakonnen, a local MC in Atlanta, had come out as gay, Quavo responded with “Damn, Makonnen? They supported him?” followed by Offset’s remark, “That’s because the world is fucked up, this world is not right.” In their defense, Quavo did apologize for his remarks and said “I got a record with Frank Ocean. That closes my case.” So we have nothing to fear. They have a gay friend. He obviously can’t be homophobic.
Fast forward to May 20 2017, when Katy Perry’s performance of “Swish, Swish” featuring Migos on SNL created criticism for behind-the-scenes rumors regarding the drag queens featured in the performance. The week of the performance, World of Wonder published a quote in which they described how Migos were uncomfortable with the drag queens. Their discomfort supposedly led to three of the performers being cut and none of the queens were invited to the after party. Speculation arose as to how accurate that claim was, but neither side was proven nor disproven.
Migos are known for their rapping talent, but their personalities leave much to be desired. Following the current movements in Hollywood, people have begun to question whether you can separate an artist from their art. I believe a person leaks into their art, and if a person is problematic and inconsiderate, their art is too. We cannot support artists that promote negativity in their art. We are queer but we are not “lame people.” Time and time again, we log on to social media to see apology after apology for something someone has said, and frankly, I’m tired of it. If we don’t want to see homophobic people, transphobic people, racist people, bigots saying bad things in the spotlight–let’s not put them in the spotlight.
In a time when we’re pushing forward for understanding and inclusivity, there is no space for homophobic rap in the mainstream music scene. Not today, not in 20-gay-teen, not ever again.