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Fly Young Red, The Pioneer of Gay Rappers Talks Do's & Don'ts!

Since the late 1970s, Hip Hop has touched countless souls and has allowed so many individuals to be unapologetically themselves through expression in their music, allowing them to obtain respect, fame and wealth, all gained by simply creating art that represents who they are and where they come from. And as the years go by many wonder, when will the Hip Hop industry welcome artists who do not necessarily align with the genre’s heteronormative standards to be successful?

More specifically, when will a gay rapper be allowed to flourish in Hip Hop all while being unapologetically themselves? To date, there has been only one person who had an opportunity to breathe what success feels like breaking into the industry as an openly gay rapper. Who? Fly Young Red!

Fly Young Red, a New Orleans native raised in a military family, broke necks and dropped jaws when his song “Throw That Boy Pussy” infamously went viral on the internet, showcasing various men twerking alongside him as he rapped about his obvious sexual attraction.

The song sampled Lil Wayne and Trina’s song “Wowzers”, which was released in 2013. After putting his unique spin on the track, success for Red happened over night as the song gained hundreds of thousands of views in just a couple of days on YouTube. The song received radio play both domestically and internationally, and Red received several interviews from reputable media outlets, including BET and the Huffington Post.

Everything seemed to be going quite well for the emerging artist, however his instant success unfortunately was short lived due to a variety of different factors. Primarily due to his overly sexual lyrics which sparked controversy among African-Americans and Hip-Hop fans, even from the LGBT community themselves.

It’s been several years since his huge breakthrough. Red has managed to go viral several times after Throw That Boy Pussy was released; however, he hasn’t been able to remain steady on the level he once possessed. I had an opportunity to catch up with Fly Young Red to understand what happened and why it seemed as if he took a break from music instead of riding his viral wave all the way through. His response was more real than I could’ve anticipated.

“I’m a real nigga at the end of the day, no matter what I do. I was sellin’ drugs, sellin coke, and I got busted, and I had to chill out for a minute. So, I couldn’t go viral, I couldn’t do anything because I didn’t want them {the courts} to really know who I was. And I’m glad that they didn’t. Sometimes I get so mad with people like, “Bitch you don’t know who I am” or whatever, but ‘they’ really didn’t know who I was, so I didn’t want them to make an example out of me.

He continued, “They just thought I was a regular nigga. Because if the people who was overseeing my punishment or whatever would’ve found out who I was, then it would’ve been all bad for me. So, I had to sit down for like two years.”

Thankfully, Red describes his run in with the laws as a thing of the past and he is no longer on probation for his past mistakes.

I was curious to learn what was it that led him into selling drugs, especially since gaining success as a rapper. I was totally taken aback from his answer.

“I thought that I wasn’t being real because I come from a military family, and I was talking about drugs and I ain’t never sold a drug. I’m talking about guns, but I ain’t never really seen a gun aside from my daddy gun. So, I moved to the hood to get a crash course. I was tryin’ to be so real, I was like I’m fake. And I learned alright! But I mean, you live and you learn.”

When asked about his viral video Throw That Boy Pussy, he responded very honestly.

“When it hit, it just taught me a lot. I wasn’t really trippin’ about that song. That was supposed to be just a song on a mixtape. And a lot of gay people was like, “You made us look bad”, but I didn’t put that out there for straight people to even see it. I made it just for gay clubs, just for gay people, just for us to have that kiki amongst us. But when the straight people came and got it, it was like you had to go with it. And now you’re here, sittin’ on BET and your song is Throw That Boy Pussy. So, I had to make the best out of it. But what it did was teach me a lot about the industry. Taught me about what people would accept at this time, and what people won’t accept.”

“Everything that I’ve been outing out after Throw That Boy Pussy was a test to see do they want girls in the video? Do they want trans girls in the video? How do they feel about the guys being back? I mean I know how to viral. So, when people say to me, “You have been sitting down, you haven’t been doing this or that”, everything I do is strategically planned for something.”

Red went on to describe how he was receiving death threats from people who disliked his viral song, describing how guys pulled up to an event with guns he had with Basketball Wives star Tammy Roman. I was curious to learn if he received more backlash from the straight community or the gay community.

“If you come into this game thinking that just because you gay that everybody gonna be on your dick, or like, “Oh yes! We have a gay rapper!”, No, they hate you!

He continued, “I think I made it because I am what they consider as “trade” (A man who is gay, but people would never know simply by looking or talking to him). So, they gave me a lot of passes because of the way that I look and the way that I talk. But a lot of gay rappers come in on that feminine perspective. In the gay community it’s either I want to fuck you or I want to fight you, it’s no in between. So when people see me it’s like, “Oh, I want to throw him some boy pussy, oh he sound good, Imma go listen to him.” But if you wear makeup and tellin’ people you’re a bad bitch it becomes a lot of competition and a lot of hate.”

Speaking on the subject of other gay rappers, I asked Red about his thoughts on why gay rappers are not taken seriously or becoming mainstream.

“I can’t necessarily say that they are not being taken seriously, I can’t say that. I will say that ain’t no real nigga wanna just ride around and just listen to some shit about a punk. No heterosexual man was supposed to ride around and listen to Throw That Boy Pussy. You rappin bout, “Oh my pussy this, and my dick that, and I’m topping this and that”. You cannot say those things and expect to be mainstream. That’s just like mainstream heterosexual dudes. They can’t talk about “faggot this and faggot that” because if you want to be mainstream you have to follow those rules. Everybody has to follow rules. You have to say what is acceptable. So it’s not that they aren’t taking seriously, it’s just they’re not making a ‘mainstream’ song. You have to make that hit song that’s gonna make people see past the gay.”

Red continued talking about how radio stations were reaching out to him and asking for a radio version of Throw That Boy Pussy. He exclaimed he didn’t give them one because he didn’t make the song for the radio. Fly Young Red’s latest single “Batty Man Work It” he describes as being radio playable and still highlights the LGBT community.

“The song lets gay men know they should be able to dance,” he said.

The song was inspired by a documentary about gay kids in Jamaica who live in a place called the Gully because they have to hide from people who want to kill them for being gay.

“You have to outsmart the people to support you. They not just about to support you because you’re gay. As soon as you say gay, a lot of people draw the line right there. They not going to listen to you until you have a song that sounds good enough for them or acceptable for them to become comfortable enough to listen to you.”

Red’s philosophy behind becoming mainstream as a gay rapper certainly seems valid and is worth noting to newcomers. There have are many individuals who have the potential but must understand that it’s a formula you must follow to be accepted. Unfortunately, being unapologetically yourself in the Hip Hop industry as a gay man may simply be ‘too much’ for the industry to handle, and that may just be how it is forever.

“Nobody has been where I been, as far as musically. To have a hit song, to have that song be played all over the world, and to be booked. Now they may have people who are on Love and Hip Hop who have a different journey that I don’t know about, but as far as music, and having a hit, and being a gay rapper, I was the only one, I’m still the only one. And I want other people to have a hit and get on the radio. My main focus right now, it’s not about going viral, it’s about getting a song on the radio, on the billboard charts, being where it matters, being in these conversations of talented rappers, and being invited to these award shows, not because of my personality but because of my music.”

Be sure to check out Fly Young Red’s latest single “Batty Man Work It” below and stay tuned for more projects from him. You can follow Red on Instagram: @Fly_Young_Red.


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