Lil B Releases ‘I’m Gay’, Album Makes No Mention of Homosexuality

Rapper Lil B has released I'm Gay (I'm Happy), the album he announced to some controversy during Coachella. The album was released abruptly, and containsis not "commercially directed" according to MTV.

Imgay At the time of Lil B's announcement, GLAAD expressed concerns that the album's title was merely a publicity gimmick.

MTV writes:

His message is poignant, no doubt, but the album title is misleading as well. In April, Lil B denied any notion of being gay himself, but to barely address the issue on the LP is a glaring omission. "I'm very gay, but I love women," he said at the time, referring to the alternate meaning of the word. "I'm not attracted to men in any way. I've never been attracted to a man in my life. But yes I am gay, I'm so happy. I'm a gay, heterosexual male."

A commenter in MTV's thread writes:

the "omission" of the Homosexual themes are there mainly because the album only uses the word "gay" on the album cover to break down the barriers of the african american stigma with homosexuality, but uses the quantifier "im happy" (the past meaning of the word) to actually refer to what he's going to be talking about on the album. he's speaking of mental freedom (a.k.a happiness) and its amazing. i know saying THANK YOU BASED GOD is the meme of the century, but seriously, thank you.

MTV adds:

"In his defense, Lil B said that his intent for the album was to breakdown barriers and show that words don't mean anything. 'Don't let a word make you discriminate upon another human,' he said when he appeared on 'RapFix Live' this past May. 'Because at the end of the day, no matter what you do, I should be happy for you, because you're alive. You're living life.'"

What are your thoughts? Has anyone listened to the album or is well-versed enough with Lil B to get his intentions? Was the title a gimmick, or, as the commenter notes, serving to break down stigmas?

Comments

  1. yes says

    Regardless, his album is talking about authenticity and THAT is something we need more of in the world. Fight the system, live our lives, be who we are. I bought it.

  2. nodnarb says

    “Thank you Based God” is the meme of the century? I believe LOLcats would like to have a word with you, hyperbolic MTV commenter.

  3. says

    I’m confused. If he was trying to use gay to “break down barriers” then why the “I’m Happy” adage? Does he not want people to think he is the modern usage of the word? If so then, would he not want the confusion because such confusion would be “bad”? As in, “No Homo.” Or is it just a matter of fact thing?

    Eh, all this confusion screams gimmick to me. However, if he is supportive of the LGBTQ community, then awesome.

  4. lyrics says

    Google Trapped in Prison Lyrics by Lil B. Read what he’s talking about. If you’re a socially oppressed “special interest group” you can appreciate the title and the content as a unified theme.

  5. zizi says

    Sounds like he is only trying to help out the word “gay”. Take away any conotations of homosexuality from the word and then the African American community can be free to say it again? Bleh. Pointless, slightly mocking gimmick.

  6. Paul R says

    So he’s try to show that words don’t mean anything? Super. I guess I can stop worrying about anything I say, read, or write. What a stupid concept. Words are power.

  7. adam says

    Lil B is not supportive of the GLBT community. His “I’m gay” album is simply a gimmick. Note how he needs to confirm that he “loves women” as if somehow he must assure us that he’s a a heterosexual and not one of these weird gay people.

    Also, don’t fall for MTV’s propaganda. MTV is NOT gay-friendly despite its occasional token pro-gay gestures.

    MTV is basically a form of marketing to the sleazy straight guy fantasy. Only bisexual women – fake or otherwise – get marketed to any signficant extent. Bisexual men rarely, if ever, get promoted on MTV and nor, unlike the women, are they permitted to use their bisexuality in their marketing.

    Think of MTV as an organization that has a bisexual double standard and which discriminates against male-male sexuality.

  8. Fenrox says

    If he didnt think the word had any weight, WHY DID HE HAVE TO CLARIFY THAT HE DIDN’T MEAN GAY?

  9. luminum says

    @Adam: Good thing Viacom/MTV created and owns Logo Network, and I NEVER see any gay men on THERE…

  10. Jack says

    I originally liked his “I’m Gay” title and what he first said about it. Then to find he had subtitled it “I’m Happy” — and to clarify that he is not and never has been attracted to men — totally turned me off. The net result, message-wise, is a minus, not a plus.

  11. Jack says

    MTV was a pioneer in bringing sympathetic and favorable portrayals of gay people to the general public through “The Real World,” and every season they continue to reinforce the idea that we are essentially no different than anyone else. They deserve a lot of credit for that.

  12. mike128 says

    This seems legit to me – I dont see how anyone would come up with this as a good gimmick.

  13. nodnarb says

    Wait, so Jason/Ryan is now posting as Adam?

    LADY GAGA HATES GAYS! STOP THE BISEXUAL DOUBLE STANDARD! WAPNER’S ON AT THREE.

  14. Jesus says

    @Paul R

    I definitely agree. People who say things like “words are just words and have no meaning or power” are just being naive. Words have a great deal of power, and personally I feel like co-opting a such a powerful social signifier that is intimately linked to social and sexual identities, but devoid of any mention of the actual social phenomena behind those words, is nothing more than a gimmick really (no matter how you try to spin it) and also pretty damned dishonest. I feel like the disclaimer he adds after is disingenuous if he actually meant what he said about unification, enlightenment, and rising above oppression and discrimination. Words have meaning and purpose and impact and to claim otherwise is just foolish.

    And getting “African American” individuals (because like, there are no LGBT folks of color, I guess?) to “get over” the word does nothing to further intelligent conversation about LGBT people, but just allows them to use the word in it’s intended context for what? So they can reclaim the word or something? I feel like I’ve heard this argument somewhere before..

    In the end, this all makes very little sense to me, so I’m voting no and not buying this. Any of it. Thanks, but no thanks.

  15. gwenster89 says

    Listen… hip hop is a whole different ball game. Machismo is alive and well in hip hop. Think about it… if a hip hop artist trying to make it was openly gay, he WOULDN’T make it. So for him to release an album CALLED I’m Gay, I think he’s saying who gives a f*ck! Releasing an album called “I’m Gay” is a BRAVE move. You think Jay-Z would do that? Lil Wayne? Drake? That could’ve been a death sentence for Lil B, but he did it anyway. He could’ve gotten famous another way that wouldn’t have been nearly as risky to his career. So come on now and give him some well deserved credit.

  16. Stephanie says

    Well he has said that he is supportive of GLBT community. However, do I believe him? Not really. Do I believe this is a gimmick? Yes, but all artist have some sort of gimmick so this isn’t really all that surprising. While what he seems to try and do seems great, it still leaves me baffled, I don’t really get it so for now I will not be buying his album. I don’t like rap anyway.

  17. Paul R says

    Why would anyone think he deserves credit for trying to revive the meaning of the word “gay” used in the 1920s? If anything, that’s offensive. We are gay (and lesbian, bi, and transgender). Should we just go around saying we’re all happy?

    Because this doesn’t make me happy. It strikes me as incredibly annoying and juvenile. Words evolve. This is a really stupid debate, because there’s no debate. It’s all for getting attention. Recall that there is no discussion of LGBT issues on the album and he goes to great lengths to assert his hetero creds. And people think he’s helping us in some way?

    If words mean nothing, what say if he’d called his album, “I’m a Huge F’ing Faggot,” then see what the comments here would think.

  18. BasedDisciple says

    Anyone who is a fan of lil b knows this isn’t a gimmick. With this album a lot of ppl will say that he’s improved or that he made this huge 180 degree change when the fact is he’s always been socially conscious and open minded. But most ppl have only heard “wonton soup”, “pretty boy”, “ellen degeneres” and think he’s a clown. He’s just well-rounded. Listen to his old stuff like “Live Twice”, “I Am The Hood”, “Chasing The Rain”, “Myspace”, “Thank You BasedGod”, “Age of Information” and you’ll see he’s always had a vision and was always thoughtful about his music. He just likes to have fun as well. Like everybody in the world he’s serious at times, and loose at times.

  19. Fenrox says

    @gwen, HE DIDNT DO ANYTHING. Saying, I’m Gay (I’m Happy) is saying NOTHING. If he just titled the album I’m Gay and that’s it, then he would have done something.

    He should in no way be lauded. (He shouldn’t be hated or anything though, he just didn’t do something instead of doing something)

    @Basediciple, So? He isn’t doing anything now. So whatever, BUT I do want to hear his old stuff now!

  20. John says

    Towleroad omitted some quotes from Lil B that would really be beneficial in this discussion. For example:

    “I respect the gay community, you can do whatever you want it’s no problem because it’s all about pushing love and positivity. And if you’re a gay man that’s more girls for me.”

    He also talked about bigotry against the gay community, which he opposes, in another interview I’ve read. He’s clearly stated that he’s saying both: on one hand, he’s using the title as a statement against homophobic bigotry, and on the other saying he’s gay (happy) because, well, he’s the Based God. I don’t know why towleroad opted not to read through an assortment of interviews before posting this; it would have given readers a more accurate depiction of his intentions, and limited the needless speculation and potential false accusations of homophobia.

  21. Paul R says

    Sorry, but “if you’re a gay man that’s more girls for me” is not exactly the most enlightened or supportive statement. That’s something a 16-year-old could say.

    I appreciate that he’s something of an anomaly in the world of hip hop, but this is not a cultural breakthrough.

  22. Coffee&Chicory says

    @Paul R: actually, it is. Here we have his case, and over there, we have Tyler the Creator who says “I’m not a homophobe I have nothing against gays blah blah blah faggot faggot gay gay dyke dyke faggot”

    In these comments the same people will say “he’s not doing anything! he’s just saying something” as the same breath that they say “he’s stupid! words are power!” which is it?

    I believe words are power, and whether or not he subtitled his album, the fact that the title is “I’m Gay” is huge, end of story.

  23. Jedi says

    Whateve Lil B’s intentions, it’s a brave move. Would have been more brave if he had dropped the “I’m Happy” subhead but, still, brave, brave, brave move. Kudos.

  24. Loonesta says

    To express any concern about “authenticity” means you already know how phony you are.

  25. I'm Gay (No, Really) says

    @Coffee&Chicory: Rappers say “No Homo” when they do or say something that could make other people think that they’re gay. Lil’ B is doing the exact same thing; he may say something that is gay, but it is followed by (I’m Happy), which ensures that no one will ever think he is gay.

    Also, Tyler the Creator has anti-gay lyrics, and he is definitely worse than Lil’ B, but I won’t pretend that merely _not_ being anti-gay is something brave and commendable.

  26. Paul R says

    I’ve been consistent. I’ve said words have power, and I’m saying these words are empty when you read the weasly subtitle and underlying interview. Words don’t have power when you strip them of it by essentially just saying I’m Happy. Who cares?

    I’m happy he’s not virulently or violently homophobic. But this is merely a ruse to get attention.

  27. Nopers says

    You know, just because most of us are hoping for a world with more equality for everyone despite sexuality, doesn’t mean that the GLBA needs to jump into every damn thing. It’s publicity for THEM, as well as him or they wouldn’t have taken the time to make a comment on something that is a non issue.

    Gay has more than one meaning and people need to accept that. By forcing people to only use it one way, they are perpetuating the biased use of the word.

    And words do not have power or meaning. It is the meaning BEHIND them that contain that power.

  28. chuckie says

    The only thing of interest I find about this album is the art work. It’s the same that was used in the intro of the old sitcom “Good Times”.

  29. Paul R says

    @Nopers: “Gay has more than one meaning and people need to accept that. By forcing people to only use it one way, they are perpetuating the biased use of the word.”

    Which is the biased use? Gay no longer has more than one use. In 2011 it means gay. Homosexual. Queer. No one says it to mean happy. That’s absurd. Would anyone you know say “I feel gay!” to indicate their level of joy? Myriad words have seen their meanings changed over the years. Language evolves. No one thinks that gay means happy anymore, at least in the US. Don’t pretend.

    “And words do not have power or meaning. It is the meaning BEHIND them that contain that power.”

    Rhat makes zero sense. Words have definitions (that is, meaning) that are their power. Saying that words have no meaning but it’s the meaning behind them makes zero sense; it’s inherently contradictory.
    It’s not too deep. Unless we’re analyzing semiotics on a very deep level, you’re just wrong. Your point might make sense where we interpreting foreign languages or, again, semiotics. But come on. A word has a definitive meaning. I don’t say dog to mean cat. I don’t say gay to mean straight. Your argument is hollow.

  30. mike128 says

    People here are seem ready to tear everyone to shreds. I get that this guy could have been “more correct” – but again, let’s focus our energy on groups and people that really oppose us, not our supporters (who may be imperfect at times – but so what?).

  31. Brie says

    So he is a lesbian, I love it and hope he gets all the p***y he can handle. I think he is fantastic for this. I dont listen to his music but I may just buy one to support his message and make a gift of it. Thanks.

  32. Vick says

    I think it is pathetic the racists on this thread and also Andy Towle! The album cover clearly says I’m Gay which actually means I’m Happy that’s the meaning of the term. Obviously, Lil B is reaching ANOTHER audience and it is not the uppity white gay racists on this blog. It might be complete SHOCK to the white gay men on this blog but there is a larger society beyond the white community. Lil B is reaching the hip hop urban community which consists of Latinos, Asians, and blacks. Lil B is promoting positive discussion but the bigots on this thread and the racist Andy Towle wouldn’t know that.

  33. Vick says

    Another point I want to make is who says the gay community just consists of white queers? You white gay racists need to look in the mirror at your white skin privilege and REALIZE there is a larger gay community beyond Chelsea!

  34. stah says

    Seems like a Gimmick to me as well. I think the true test will be if LIL B preform at Gay and lesbian events. There are frequently high profiled events around the major cities like NY, ATL, DC, LA… Lets see if his manager books him for 1 of them. Then in my opinion he will be speaking the truth, and not just a gimmick. Sometimes u got to show through actions.

  35. Paul R says

    @Vick: Go to hell. I’ve dated four men in my entire life. Two have been of color. They would agree with my arguments. They would probably find this more annoying than I do.

    There often are racists on this site. I despise them. That is not the issue here.

  36. MK says

    @Paul R.: He’s 21. I know that’s not 16, but it’s pretty close. I think you should take it a little easier on him. You’re looking at his statement like he’s making a negative proclamation but it’s more a live-and-let-live jest.