Lord Jamar of the '90s political-minded hip-hop group Brand Nubian (and who also acted on Oz) has at last weighed in on the skirt Kanye West rocked almost two months ago at the 12-12-12 benefit show at Madison Square Garden (not to mention the several times before that on his Watch the Throne tour with Jay-Z). Yes, finally we have Lord Jamar's voice in the mix, so at last we can put this issue to rest. Jamar isn't a fan, as his new track "Lift Up Your Skirt" attests. Here are some of his lines:
Somebody mad at my hashtag
Black man lookin' half a fag
With a blazer and vest
I'm just amazed at the mess
Pioneer of this queer shit is Kanye West
He introduced the skinny jeans to the rap scene
Then he wore a fucking skirt on the video screen
Then he wore it again at a memorial
I can't pretend that this shit ain't deplorable
I bet this nigga thinkin' he looking adorable
Your music's good but your ego is horrible
Jamar goes on to say:
I rebuke all this gay shit
Some are scared to say shit
You might lay and take this
But I'm not to be played with
Homophobic sentiment is hardly surprising from a member of Brand Nubian. On 1993's infamous "Punks Jump Up to Get Beat Down," Jamar's groupmate Sadat X famously rapped,"I can freak, fly, flow, fuck up a faggot/I don't understand their ways; I ain't down with gays." The line was later removed from the song in subsequent pressings of the album, and doesn't appear on the version included on the compilation The Very Best of Brand Nubian.
Jamar started harping on this subject about a week ago, when he posted a picture of a different black man in a skirt on Instagram with the caption, "Y'all Cee where the Kanye shit is takin us right? #halfafag." He later clarified his stance to SOHH.com:
First of all, it's not just jabs at Kanye West. It's anybody promoting the feminization — of the Black man in hip-hop culture. Anybody that I see out there, rocking dresses and all of that type of shit, I might shoot a jab at. But Kanye is one of the ones right now that's representing that movement. He's one of the first ones that you see in a skirt. Now you got other people following suit and rocking full-out dresses or they're trying to rock kilts. We're not Irish. We're not Europeans. Rocking kilts and all that is just another excuse to introduce that skirt style. You understand what I'm saying? And I'm not with it. This has nothing to do with sexuality, who they choose to be with and all that, I'm not even talking about that. I'm talking specifically about, what is hip-hop? And that's not hip-hop. Rocking dresses with mean faces, that's not hip-hop.
So not only is he extremely late to the game, he's using the "this isn't hip-hop" argument against someone who is infinitely more relevant to the culture right now than he is. Being gay isn't a choice, but being an asshole is. Cool guy. I'm sure we'll be hearing a lot more from him. Kanye may be wearing a skirt, but Lord Jamar is showing his ass.
Incidentally, if you are wondering why the art accompanying this post is not of Kanye in that infamous kilt, it's because it is now impossible to purchase a picture of him in it from a photo agency. Getty confirmed that they were asked to scrub their site of the several shots of Kanye from the 12-12-12 show they hosted. They wouldn't say why. If this somehow came from Kanye, and the mockery he faced afterward made him ashamed of his bold move (clearly made with the knowledge that strong reactions like Jamar's, however backward, were possible), that makes him weaker than any skirt possibly could suggest.