Left Behinds

The anti-andrewsullivan.com. Or, the Robin Hood (Maid Marian?) of bright pink Blogger blogs.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Ladies Man?

One of my favorite songs of all time is "Around the Way Girl" by LL Cool J (which was also the source of my online handle for many years).

I want a girl with extensions in her hair
Bamboo earrings
At least two pair
A Fendi bag and a bad attitude
That's all I need to get me in a good mood
She can walk with a switch and talk with street slang
I love it when a woman ain't scared to do her thing
Standing at the bus stop sucking on a lollipop
Once she gets pumping its hard to make the hottie stop
She likes to dance to the rap jam
She sweet as brown sugar with the candied yams
Honey coated complexion
Using Camay
Lets hear it for the girl she's from around the way

Classic. So I was pretty pleased with this article about LL's longevity in, of all places, Slate.

The author makes the case that LL is the longest-lived rapper in the game (with the exception, I would add, of the Beastie Boys and maybe a couple others) because of his consistency and resistance to fads. That's sort of true (although I seem to remember "Mama Said Knock You Out" as his attempt to modernize his style), but I especially agree with the following observation:

Years before anyone else got wise, LL decided to let other rappers fight over the male audience while lavishing love, and tenderness, and plentiful Mack Daddy moves on women—black women, in particular. In the process he built up one of hip-hop's most loyal fan bases, making sure to stay just gruff enough to appease the fellas.
True. But. My only question is: what difference does it make that he's queer?

Every hiphophead knows that LL Cool J is one of "the gay rappers" (or, as the ever-fabulous Wendy Williams says, "the question isn't who is the gay rapper, but who isn't the gay rapper").

In the MSM, LL is definitely positioned as the archetypal hiphop Casanova. But I maintain that LL's fans love him because he's bi. His female fans know this about him. These are the same straight women who propel E. Lynn Harris' (godawful) gay urban novels to the bestseller lists. There's something about his persona that's so different from the usual hiphop lotharios. His love for women isn't aggro and disrespectful, it's sweet and appreciative. He's, you know, sensitive.

I mean, check out the stanza above. In a rap about what type of woman he likes, he rhymes about her hair extensions, her cute earrings, and how she has to use Camay moisturizer. GAY GAY GAY. It isn't a rap about his lust for women, it's a rap about how much he loves women as, you know, his best girlfriends. (Rap it with a pier queen voice and it makes so much more sense)

LL Cool J: every hiphophead's oldest gay girlfriend.

Tags: culture, gay, hiphop, hip-hop, LL Cool J


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