Gay rap duo defends controversial lyrics, announces plans for new original single/video and summer appearances
Homophobia in hip-hop has been a point of contention for the LGBT community since artists like DJ Kool Herc and Grandmaster Flash started the rap movement decades ago. (Just this past weekend it was reported that up-and-coming rapper Lil B is using the homophobia-in-hip-hop controversy to sell albums. During his set at Coachella he announced that his next album would be called I’m Gay, in order to “show you that words don’t mean s**t.”) And since the rise of “homohop” at the turn of the millennium, gay rappers have been trying to level the playing the field.
A new group that’s joining in on the fight is Freaky Boiz. A rap duo from Chicago made up of Pierre “P-Weezy” Phipps and Terrance “TTgotit” Wilson who burst onto the scene after their YouTube videos went viral and caused a stir because of their explicit lyrics about gay sex. As a joke just to pass a lazy summer day, Phipps and Wilson took to YouTube and wrote a bunch of silly lyrics about hooking up with “straight’ dudes and spit them over a instrumental track of Gucci Mane’s “Freaky Gurl.” Now three videos (remakes of New Boyz’ “Ur A Jerk” and Nicki Minaj’s “Roman’s Revenge” followed) and half a million views later, the 21-year-old, Southern Illinois University-Carbondale seniors are getting calls from producers and booking agents from around the country.
Though definitely a breath of fresh air, Phipps and Wilson aren’t the first or the last gay hip-hoppers to tote the genre-bending doctrines of homohop. The gay hip-hop movement began with trendsetters like Deep Dickollective (D/DC), , Katastrophe, Tori Fixx and God-Des & She in the early 2000s. These and other artists were showcased at the PeaceOUT World Homo Hop Festival in Oakland, Calif., which ran annually from 2001-2007 and had incarnations in New York City (PeaceOUT East), London (PeaceOUT UK) and Atlanta (PeaceOUT South). The homohop movement sort of peaked in 2005 with Pick Up the Mic, a critically-acclaimed documentary about the underground gay hip-hop movement that premiered at the Toronto Film Festival.
Homohop may be in a mainstream lull, but gay hip-hoppers are still making waves. Cazwell is a gay household name because of his viral videos (including the now infamous “Ice Cream Truck” video) and he’s got some huge support from the LGBT network Logo, who often showcases his work. DJ Backer, of NYC, hosts Da Doo-Dirty Show, a popular Sirus/XM satellite radio show and podcast that focuses on LGBT hip-hop. And Web sites like OutHipHop.com is filled with new content by gay rappers from around the globe.
Phipps and Wilson met in 2006 while students in high school, growing up on the west side of Chi Town. They became fast friends while in the school’s dance club, bonding over their shared interest in the art form. And though a dream come true, the buds’ quick rise to underground fame may come at the worse time. Phipps is double majoring in television production and theater with his sights set on Hollywood after graduation next month, while Wilson hopes to finish up his accounting degree this summer, with plans of heading to New York after to make a go at a dance career in The Big Apple. Both are also holding down part time jobs.
So how do they plan on fitting in a lucrative recording career as homohop rappers? And what will happen to Freak Boiz come the fall if Phipps and Wilson are on opposite sides of the country? The boys answer all this and more in the group’s first ever exclusive online interview below:
QC: What has the response to Freaky Boiz been like amongst your family and friends?
TW: Believe it or not our families are our biggest supporters. I grew up with my grandparents my mother and my brother, my grandparents have since passed away, but my little brother (who’s 18 years old) loves my music and he’s not gay. My mother asks why we have to talk like that [laughs], but her first response was “look at my baby on here,” she was proud.
PP: I really didn’t think that it would reach the amount of people that it’s reached. I’ve heard gay rappers before, but they were never big, especially in the straight community. When I started seeing the lyrics we wrote as people’s Facebook statuses, and on Twitter, it was like, “this shit is crazy!” [Laughs] People started noticing us in the streets and at certain restaurants they’ll tell us our meal is free. My friends and family are really supportive and our friends our definitely our number one fans.
QC: How has being a part of Freaky Boiz changed your life.
TW: It feels good [to be a part of Freaky Boiz]. I’ve always been a people person, I am president of my dance group (Fatal Fusion Dance Group Inc.), I actually should be in practice right now [laughs], But maybe it hasn’t really changed our lives, me and [Phipps] are very humble and we’re down to earth. It’s just gotten us a lot more attention.
PP: The popularity, it’s a crazy thing. I always had like 2,000 followers on Twitter, but now I have 5,000. I can’t even see my friends when they tweet me because all the fans are tweeting me. It’s weird now because I feel like I have to go places with a permanent smile on my face. People say my natural look is kind of mean, and I don’t want people who see me out saying P-Weezy is mean.
QC: What is your response to people who say that Freaky Boiz’ lyrics are offensive and detrimental to the black gay movement?
TW: Everybody is entitled to their own opinion. Its’ just a chance for Freaky Boiz to prove them wrong. I look at all criticism as good criticism. I’m not hung up on the comments. It’s not hurting us and we’re still going to be ourselves.
PP: They don’t have to listen to it. I don’t care what people say. If they’re offended then they’re not the target audience. If you don’t like our music, then your not the person we’re making the music for. Some of my favorite artists, some of their songs aren’t for me. But we will continue to make music that a lot of people will relate to. If you didn’t like the first three videos, maybe you’ll like the next three.
QC: Who are your musical influences? Where do you get your inspiration?
TW: When we did the first video I just went with the flow. “Freaky Gurl” was actually the only instrumental track [Phipps] had on his laptop, that’s why we used it. We actually wrote out the song before we knew which beat we were going to use. As for my musical influences, I love, love, love Beyonce. I also listen to Rihanna, and I like Lil Wayne, Young Jeezy and Travis Porter’s music. My favorite rappers are Lil Wayne and Jeezy. … We do get a lot of compressions to Nicki Minaj and Trina, and I do love Nicki Minaj and Trina, but I think people say that because they’re the only rappers [in the mainstream] that are talking like us in their raps. But I’m not a girl and I don’t want to be a girl, I’m just a guy that likes guys. [In the videos] I talk about stuff that I relate to. It’s not that I’m doing any of that. Anyone can portray an image and not be doing what they’re talking about. I’m not a freak and I don’t do it all type of ways [laughs], for lack of a better phrase.
PP: My favorite poet is Dana Gilmore, but musically I like Eminem, I used to like T.I., but not so much anymore. The lyrics [in our videos] were just coming from the heart, it was just coming off the top of our heads, the things we wanted to say that fit wit the song.
QC: What’s next for Freaky Boiz? I know Pierre that you Tweeted the big news about FB landing Dallas Pride. Are there any other performance dates in the works?
TW: We’ve got a lot of appearances lined up that we’ve booked for the summer. We want to make a whole new look for the Freaky Boiz and start to relay a specific message to the audience, that it’s not all about sex, we are really talented. … Our PR manager, he sets up our shows, but they’re not all confirmed, so stay tuned.
PP: We’re also going to be performing in Chicago at the Black Gay Pride there. But the main thing we’re working on right now is our first single. We’re also going to make a video for it. We want it to get to the mainstream and be on 106 & Park. After the first single and we see how far that gets us, that will determine what’s next for the Freaky Boiz.
TW: We’ve been hit up by lots of gay rappers that want to do work with us, and a lot of gay singers who want to do work with us too. They all want to get in the studio and do something. We just have to make some decisions and get things ready on our end.
PP: We’ve heard from a lot of producers, but me and [Wilson] are really picky. We don’t want to just work with anybody, so we’re looking through what we’ve been sent and are in the process of deciding what we want to do. But we’re hoping to have an original song and a new video out in the next three weeks.
QC: In your wildest dreams, where do you see Freaky Boiz 10 years from now.
TW: Me and [Phipps] actually just had this talk recently. When we started getting major page views, I asked him how long he thought it would take us to really make this happen. He said it would take five years, but I think Freaky Boiz can be famous by January, if we put in the work. The controversy that came behind the videos might bring some problems, but we have strong personalities, and are motivated. We want to be a part of that movement that people think we’re setting back 20 years.
PP: I want us to be the first openly gay black rappers to be signed with a major record label and going platinum every album and taking over the music industry. We started off as a joke, but now that we’re looking at it as a career, I think me and [Wilson] are the perfect candidates to make it happen.
QC: What is your “coming out” story? Was it difficult for you to come to terms with your sexuality.
TW: I definitely struggled with coming to terms with it, but I was lucky because my mother was really supportive. I actually didn’t even tell her, she asked me. I responded and I said, “yes,” and she never mentioned it again. So, I wrote her a letter explaining my feelings because I wanted her to understand me. But after that she was O.K. As for the rest of my family, my little brother was the fist person I told, but then a year later we got into a fight and he told everyone I had a boyfriend at a family picnic. My grandparents were crying and even my other brother was crying. But that was three years ago, everyone has grew to accept it now. There has been people saying that the reason we’re gay and making these videos is because we didn’t grow up with father figures. I’d just like to say I think that’s ridiculous because I grew up with my grandfather and I lived with my uncle, so I grew up with two father figures.
PP: Once I discovered I was gay I pretty much accepted it right away. I’ve always been a person with a lot of self pride, but my only problem was telling my mom. But once I told her I didn’t care about anyone else. I told my mom on New Years Day (in 2008). I remember knowing I wanted to tell her but I didn’t know how to tell here. Then oddly out of nowhere she asked me if I was gay. So, I just told her. At first she took it kind of hard. My oldest brother is also gay so it was hard for her to accept both her sons are gay.
QC: What advice do you have for young black gay men who are struggling with their identities.
TW: My advice would be to believe in yourself and be yourself at all times. If you try to be someone else you will never be happy. When you start loving yourself and acknowledging that you’re happy then other people will start being happy for you too. It’s hard to come out as a gay male and it’s really hard to be gay in high school, but it’s getting better, and people should be themselves and be happy.
PP: Stop struggling. I would just say find yourself and just be comfortable in your own skin. The reason their struggling is because they’re worried about what everyone else thinks. You are the only person that can make you happy. Once you gain respect for yourself, everyone else has no other choice but to respect you.
For more on the Freaky Boiz visit their YouTube page and for instant updates you can also follow them on Twitter (@PrinceCharmingP and @Ttgotit)). To book the group for events email their PR team at firstname.lastname@example.org.