For those unfamiliar, Murs is somewhat of a legend in the independent hip hop scene, first coming up as a youngster with L.A crews Log Cabin and 3 Melancholy Gypsies (respectively), then moving up to Oakland as part of the definitive Bay Area rap collective Living Legends. As a lyricist, Murs was always someone who stuck out to me, both stylistically and content-wise, in ways that would make me nod my head and cringe at the same time. It was his uniqueness and honesty that endeared him to so many people, and blew him up to international underground stardom.
Earlier this month, Murs released a video for his song, "Animal Style," which is a story about two high school-aged men in a secret relationship. Murs plays one of the characters, a popular teen who keeps his sexuality and relationship with Jonathan (an openly gay student) on the DL.
From the youtube page:
From the youtube page:
"Animal Style is a song I did for many reasons," Murs explains. "The first was to be an advocate for people close to me who are out, and those who have yet to come out. It's also a love song, which is nothing new for me. But with this one I wanted to challenge the listener to ask themselves: Is the love shared by two people of the same gender, really that different than the love I have for my partner of the opposite sex? And finally, I just felt it was crucial for some of us in the hip hop community to speak up on the issues of teen suicide, bullying, and the overall anti-homosexual sentiment that exist within hip hop culture. I felt so strongly about these issues and this song that I had to do a video that would command some attention, even if it makes some viewers uncomfortable. Even if it came at the cost of my own comfort."
I definitely appreciate Murs showing the courage to come out in support of the LGBTQ community, especially coming from a culture (hip hop) that is historically heterosexist and homophobic. Additionally, it's great seeing a notable hip hop figure like Jay-Z showing support for Soul/Hip Hop vocalist Frank Ocean, or more rappers putting out songs addressing homophobia like Macklemore's "Same Love" (AMAZING, by the way - see below). My hope is that the same attention can be given to the stories of hip hop heads who are actually from the LGBTQ community. Queer folks have been the ones fighting homophobia and heterosexism forever, they deserve to be the ones receiving credit and love for raising the awareness of us all to this struggle.