Young M.A. could be hip hop’s first stud lesbian star

You might be a fan of Young M.A.‘s and not even know it. Her song “OOOUUU” is getting a ton of play, coming in number eight on Spotify’s Velocity and the video being viewed more than 20 million times on YouTube.

If you’re hearing her for the first time, you’ll likely pick up on the fact that she’s a woman rapping (among other things) about women. 

Baby gave me head, that’s a low blow
Damn she make me weak when she deepthroat
I need a rich bitch not a cheap ho 

Young Ma was asked about that particular stanza when she appeared on The Breakfast Club last month, where host Charlamagne asked the point of dildos.

“Listen, I’ll bring a couple girls here one day and they’ll explain to you what that mean,” Young Ma said. “Listen I’m not going to tell you that. That’s none of your business. It’s my business. That’s between me and the girls, man. You don’t have to know about that. You shouldn’t want to know what a dildo does, buddy.”

For the record, that’s not her only song mentioning strap-ons. From “Brooklyn Popppin“:

I say come and get this dick
She say, “Where? N—a stop it”
I said I got that 8 inch in the closet
Yea they hatin’,but they watchin’

The Brooklyn-based rapper has been out since she started posting music to YouTube in 2013 and is part of the RedLyfe Pain Gang. Inspired to rap by the murder of her brother, her lyrics are laced with the same kind of misogyny, violent threats and notes on hustle life that other street rappers like Meek Mill are known for. Meek Mill even recorded a verse on her “OOOUUU” remix that has some homophobic epithets that some are saying were meant for The Game.

GettyImages-607368942via Getty

Young M.A. is playing the game, and that’s why she’s winning. Her interests include, as her Instagram will tell you, henny and hoes, and her love of women is apparent in songs like “Summer Story.”

I’ma ride for my bitch, do or die for my bitch
Fucked around a few times on my bitch, woah
She said I don’t have no loyalty
Just cause the pussy just be calling me
And she don’t think I love her even when I say I love her
That’s my bitch and we just single for the summer, woah

In the last few years, out urban artists like SIYA, Angel Haze and The Internet‘s frontwoman Syd Tha Kid have been able to make some collaborations and grace mainstream stages with explicitly queer songs and androgynous appearance. (It’s worth noting that Da Brat has a similar aesthetic now but was never out during her heyday and often rapped about men.) Young M.A. has only released one EP so far (2015’s SleepWalkin) and is working on her first full-length album, HerStory, which will likely include proven hits like “OOOUUU.”

Once she has an LP out in the world, it’ll be interesting to see how her career progresses. Is it possibly Young M.A. could be the first out lesbian, stud rapper to perform on large-scale music shows? To sell millions of records and win awards? She talked about the homophobia she faces in a 2015 interview with The Boom Box:

“It’s people out there that I may see in the comments say things like ‘What is this he-she?’ you know what I mean. It’s hateful comments out there, but that’s with everybody. Even if it ain’t about that, it can be about this, it can be about that so I know that’s gonna happen ’cause this is the world that we live in, I expect that. But it gets overshadowed with so much love that I don’t even pay attention to that. It’s like a splinter, it doesn’t affect me at all. So it’s like, yeah, you can do what you do but you listening to me and that’s what matters and you’re gonna keep listening ’cause you obviously feel something to be mad and have to write it out. When they don’t listen and they don’t say something negative you ain’t doing something right and that’s how I look at it.”

There is a lot of love being given to Young M.A. and her talent and swagger is undeniable. She was offered the role of Freda Gatz on Empire but turned it down because she’d rather be known for her own work than that of a fictional character. (Instead out rapper Bre-Z brilliantly inhabits the role.) But the attention she received from Empire creator Lee Daniels led to her meeting Swizz Beatz and a collaboration she teased in that same Boom Box interview.

BET Hip Hop Awards 2016 - BackstagePhoto by Johnny Nunez/BET/Getty Images for BET

In MTV’s profile of Young M.A., they write that the 24-year-old will “revitalize New York rap”:

Whereas the enduring flaw of contemporary New York rappers is allegiance to an imagined, classical past — think of the sometimes ridiculous and violent Troy Ave — Young M.A pushes forward. Here is a rapper unburdened by justifying the supremacy of her city’s music, one who is instead showing you evidence. She uses observational vocabulary and quick, truncated lines to relate immediate truths, unconstrained by haughty ideas of where New York is, or was, in music’s hierarchy of place.

Inspired by Eve50 Cent and Jay-Z, Young M.A. is fearless in who she is and what she’s about, and it’s the former that makes her so special. Her perspective is one that is missing from hip hop at large, but an indicator of where the genre could be headed in the rest of 2016 and beyond. And while it’s pretty incredible that an out masc-presenting lesbian could be rap music’s next big thing, we’re hopeful HerStory will also give us some deep cuts about her relationships with women. However, she’s getting a lot of attention for her quips like:

Why she keep calling my phone speaking sexually?
Every time I’m out, why she stressing me?
You call her Stephanie? I call her Headphanie 

…so, for better or for worse, there’s probably more where that came from. Perhaps a fair trade off for queer women (especially queer women of color) finally being able to see a version of themselves in popular music and to feel a little more included when the hypersexual track is more akin to their own bedroom situations than every other song on the radio.

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