Le1f: A Subversion of Rap’s Machismo

Hip hop, as it is now, is that 30-something grownup with stunted growth – mentally at least. It’s still stuck in that ‘90s rut (often misleadingly referred to by hip hop elitists as the golden age), a time when rap’s macho posturing, bigoted heteronormativity (even Chuck D wasn’t exempted from this), and general stupidity were brewing strong. It has changed a lot in recent years, the punk-like subversion is still there, but at the same time the homophobia, conspiracy theory BS, and tough guy façade are more rampant than ever.

Out and proud Le1f probably won’t change the game, but his existence alone is a much needed shake up hip hop needs right now. Signed to Das Racist’s Heems’ label, Greedhead Music, it’s unsurprising that Le1f’s debut mixtape Dark York is a deconstruction of hip hop on some level. It’s the female rapper’s co-option of the word bitch as an empowerment by way of a homosexual man. Lead single ‘Wut’, with its accompanying video (featuring Le1f booty shaking like the best of ‘em and resting on a half-naked man’s lap), is the perfect F-you to the genre. World Star Hip Hop is already uncomfortable by his presence. Rock on.