Hip-Hop isn’t the most mo friendly musical genre. As Eve discussed with Clay Cane, most male hip-hoppers strive for a masculine ideal, rapping about bitches, hoes and ladies. One rapper, however, challenged these aural ideals, making a name for himself as the first openly gay rapper: Caushun.
The “talented” New York-based, socially-conscious singer made waves, garnering awards from GLAAD and scoring a performance at the Vibe Awards. Too bad Caushun wasn’t a rapper. Nor was a he gay. In fact, Caushun never really existed.
Ivan Matias – the voice behind Jason Herndon’s “Caushun” – explains to AllHipHop that Caushun started as a joke on legendary MC and radio host, Funk Master Flex.
…We wanted to prank Flex while he was on the air. We said let’s call up in a flamboyant way and get on his records he was putting out at the time. Let’s make up this character and call him up. It was a funny thing. He wasn’t really trying to hear it…
The next day, we decided to call Angie [Martinez] and try it again. She let us spit. She thought it was hot. That became an internal joke. For two weeks we would take songs that were classic Hip-Hop joints and act as if the artist really existed. People were really buzzing about it. One of the people suggested that we get someone to pretend to be the face of Caushun and send them to the station. So, I called Jason.
A hairdresser looking for new clients, Jason leapt at the opportunity to get some ink and signed on to play Caushun.
Unfortunately, the revolutionary character ended up falling apart when Jason’s legal troubles caught up to him and Matias fessed up to the fraud. So, does Matias feel guilty for duping so many people, including queer communities? No. In fact, he claims Caushun helped combat the image of hip-hop homophobia:
I think a part of this project was good because it showed that Hip-Hop is not as homophobic as it projects. Out of everyone else who could have popularized something as trivial as the color pink, it took a masculine culture like Hip-Hop to popularize that on men. This showed a good side of Hip-Hop that’s its open and diverse.
We’re not sure Caushun proved hip-hop’s not homophobic – certainly homophobia exists within the genre’s well-versed walls. The character did, however, show that not all over hip-hop’s homophobic and, what’s more, a gay singer (however fraudulent) can get work, hopefully inspiring some queer rappers to aim for the stars. Let’s hope these revelations don’t dash their dreams.