Photo Courtesy of Cuee
In February of this year, I had the pleasure of interviewing Black trans rapper Cuee. We discussed his career, future hopes, and musical and transitional journeys, but one aspect of our interview particularly inspired me: his emphasis on joy. Despite the darkness the transgender community faces, Cuee stated, “I want people to hear my story…and be like, ‘Okay, there’s the joy.’” His music has certainly achieved this goal — joy is present throughout his discography, and he has once again musically embodied trans happiness in his latest single, “Proud Boi.”
The song begins with a bold declaration of liberation, which sets the tone for the rest of the track: “No people on Earth here are to be oppressed.” Cuee’s lyricism then emphasizes trans beauty and strength, as does the production itself. The infectious electric piano, synth chords, and defiantly strong bass line have a swaggering quality that sonically embodies the pride in the song’s title. It also has a joyful and undeniably retro feel, with the electrifying, upbeat 808s harkening back to early hip-hop.
As a listener, the juxtaposition of nostalgic production against Cuee’s pride and hope for the present day made me not only consider how far the LGBTQ+ community has come but also how much further we need to go. In many states, anti-trans laws that seem part of an older, more bigoted era are currently being proposed and passed. However, “Proud Boi” imbues a sense of hope and resistance in the face of such depressing events. Serving as a mirror for Cuee’s personal experience, “Proud Boi” is a vehicle through which other trans humans can transport themselves into his world of queer joy.
Cuee’s latest single is a bold celebration that both lyrically and sonically encompasses trans resilience and pride. Its upbeat groove is emblematic of the rapper’s joyful essence, and the song can be characterized as an ode to the trans community. Specifically, it is a testament to Black trans pride, which has been at the heart of the queer liberation movement since its inception. I believe that “Proud Boi” is a perfect addition to any playlist for your Pride Month enjoyment or anytime year-round. Listeners will not only want to get up and dance but also feel uplifted by Cuee’s infectious and inspiring positivity.
Author: Michel (He/They)
Copy Editors: Gwendolyn Hill (She/Her), Bella (She/They)