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How hip-hop learned to call out homophobia – or at least apologize for it

In the 2018 song “Boss Life,” the rapper Offset, part of the multiplatinum-selling rap group Migos, rhymed: “I do not vibe with queers.”

Such casual use of a perceived anti-gay slur is not uncommon in the history of hip-hop. But the discussion that Offset’s lyrics provoked gave an insight to how the genre is evolving.

Addressing claims of homophobia, the rapper wrote on Instagram: “I didn’t write the line about gay people. … I got love for all people.” He continued: “To me [by] ‘queer’ I don’t mean someone who’s gay. I mean lame people who film you, post it and stalk you. Lingo that means strange or odd.”

I have no reason to question Offset’s sincerity, although other artists have criticized him for the slur.

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