In his new video “Anita Bryant”, queer rapper F. Virtue aggressively spits politically charged rhymes about the acceptance of gay people in the art and hip-hop worlds. Riding a steady wave of out rap artists like Le1f, Mykki Blanco, Cakes Da Killa, Big Momma, and Zebra Katz, among others, F. Virtue’s video will surely excite some and disappoint others.
These artists, whose popularity have exponentially grown due to social media and micro-blogging sites like Tumblr (leading their sub-genre to sometimes be called Tumblrwave) have embraced their flamboyant homosexuality, using it as fodder for hyper-aggressive songwriting and the creation of interesting, avant-garde looks and fashions.
But far from the heavily-sampled Paris Is Burning glam and super-speedy style of Cakes Da Killa, and even further from the chiptune heavy synths and glitchy 90s seapunk aesthetic of Le1f, F. Virtue is serving political consciousness with precious little adornment.
“Life’s a Bitch / I’m a fucking fag,” he moans over bassy mod-claps and a catchy piano loop. But like the aforementioned rappers, F. Virtue is resistant to being labelled solely as a “gay rapper”: “You can hate me but I won’t hate you / This isn’t gay rap, do gay chefs make gay food?”
Will these artists find mainstream success? Will F. Virtue’s political challenge be taken seriously by his “gay rap” compatriots or the record labels who might sign them? While it doesn’t look like F. Virtue will be rap battling (or vogue battling, for that matter) the likes of his queer peers, we look forward to hearing more from him in the future.