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According to Scott Gold of the Los Angeles Times, struggling hip-hop artist Adair Lion had run through the money his grandmother had lent him (a big chunk of her savings) to help establish his career (making pro-grade videos, recording costs and traveling to gigs for exposure don't come cheap these days), and yet his career had failed to take off. He was tired and ready to pack it in.

But then some of his songs started to gain traction, especially "Ben" his "Gay is OK" song calling for acceptance of gays in which he raps:

The Bible was wrong this time...Gay is OK--the No.1 thing a rapper shouldn't say. I said it anyway
And instead of committing career suicide with his pro-gay song, as some of his friends had warned him, he reinvigorated it, says Gold.
Then "Ben" helped put him on the radar — what would have been career suicide not long ago effectively saved his career.
This just shows how rapidly the rap, hip-hop world is changing in its attitude toward gays. Gold quotes rapper Murs who credits President Obama's announcing his support of same-sex marriage and the subsequent enthusiastic support of rapper Jay-Z as a one-two punch helping transform attitudes.

And then, of course, there's Frank Ocean's recent (and very successful) release of his new album, "Channel Orange" in which he sings about his love for another man, and the subsequent outpouring of support from a number of prominent hip-hop artists, including Jay-Z.

It's beginning to look like pro-gay rap songs are a smart business move these days.

As they say, the times they are a changing--and fast.

                                                     "Ben"

 

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Comment Preferences

  •  That's a neat song. (4+ / 0-)

    Sweet ending on the vid.  I hope his career really takes off.

    99%er. 100% opposed to fundamentalist/neoconservative/neoliberal oligarchs.

    by blueoasis on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 06:35:41 AM PDT

  •  Lyrics: (4+ / 0-)
    HOOK (full)
    Ben most people would turn you away
    I don't listen to a word they say
    They don't see you as I do
    I wish they would try to
    I'm sure they'd think again
    if they had a friend like Ben

    VERSE 1
    uh My name's Adair and I'm here to recruit you
    What up Hip-Hop Can I spit some taboo
    Hello young world can I change your outlook
    When I was growing up I was forced to give a frown look
    to people who were different than me,
    and I just accepted it man but I was so naive
    see I was scholarship-ed to a private school
    and in the hood I was with my vatos acting a fool
    so either way being gay was wrong
    it was against the hood laws or the laws of God
    so... I didn't see them -they probably were scared straight
    but I made a friend I never expected to make....
    now, I can see all the hate reaction on your face
    this subjects not the type that hip-hop embrace
    but its long overdue... where you at Wayne
    I said its long overdue where you at Ye?
    I mean...

    HOOK (half)
    they don't see you as I do
    I wish they would try to
    I'm sure they'd think again
    if they had a friend like Ben

    VERSE 2
    Ben you're my friend in case you unaware
    Adair Lion does if nobody else care
    and I've never been the type to harp on what others think of me
    so there's no wonder why I call out all this bigotry
    Being Christian its hard to say this...
    but the Bible was wrong this time...
    Its in every species and every family I've met
    so I don't see why to the world its a crime
    you see logistically
    and statistically
    not every dancer dude is gay
    not every football players straight
    and thats crazy huh, but thats fact yo!
    and thats the same anywhere, even rap yo!
    oh you don't see that...
    you don't believe that...
    I guess him over there he chose to be Black...
    and her Asian...
    and them White...
    and those God awful gays chose to live that life, huh?!

    HOOK (half)
    they don't see you as I do
    I wish they would try to
    I'm sure they'd think again
    if they had a friend like Ben

    VERSE 3
    Ben I dont know if my friends will back me up on this
    they might turn their backs and say that I'm a bitch
    and I know if you come out you'll get the same shit
    but we dont need that kind of peeps in our relationship
    "gay is okay" the number one thing a rapper shouldn't say...
    I said it anyway and I made history...
    (and) to all the little dudes learning to mack
    the hottest chicks got a gay in their clique, remember that
    Ben this songs for you while your growing up
    'cause I don't wanna see you break and say you've had enough
    It doesn't just get better, it gets awesome homie
    what I mean is I just wanna see you blossom homie
    its just they never really miss you 'til you (are) dead or your gone
    so on that note, Im leaving after this song
    you ain't gotta feel any way about Adair for long
    but at least let Michael tell you why I'm this way...hold on

    HOOK (full)
    Ben most people would turn you away
    I don't listen to a word they say
    They don't see you as I do
    I wish they would try to
    I'm sure they'd think again
    if they had a friend like Ben

    OUTRO
    Coincidentally, Ben is the name of someone I've never met...my dad.
    So why would I ever judge someone who is trying to be two of what I never had?

    99%er. 100% opposed to fundamentalist/neoconservative/neoliberal oligarchs.

    by blueoasis on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 06:43:14 AM PDT

  •  His Grandma should be proud ... (3+ / 0-)

    ... of herself and of her grandson. They did the right thing.

    Very nice rap, very nice video too

  •  Interesting watching the hip-hop world evolve. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Williston Barrett

    In the wake of Obama's announcement, many heavy hitters, like Jay-Z, Beyonce, Will Smith, 50 Cent and others spoke out in support of LGBT rights and people. There already were a number of respected people, like Rolling Stone's Toure, who have long been allies. It does appear like a tipping point as been reached in those circles, where it's more cool than not cool, to be cool with gays. Yay!

    You're not being "oppressed" when another group gains rights you've always enjoyed.

    by Scott Wooledge on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 07:23:58 PM PDT

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