Tag Archives: Hip Hop

‘Thunder On The Left’ Premiere New Single ‘National Insecurity’

DIY Heavy Rock three-piece, Thunder On The Left, music has been described as a riff-based melting pot of alternative rock, hip-hop, and progressive rock.

Fronted be queer vocalist Carla, the group have been building a solid and loyal following the last couples of years, and this week, they dropped the title track and first single from their anticipated debut studio album, National Insecurity.

National Insecurity is the first track the band have dropped since their debut EP, The Art Of Letting Go, which was released almost two years ago.

Opening with the lyrics, ‘brush your teeth it’s time for bed, are you living are you dead?’, National Insecurity is an ominous and sinister depiction of a dystopian world that the band envisage we are heading towards thanks to society being conditioned to a hyper-dependancy on – and addiction to – technology.

The video sees the lead character (depicted by Carla) suffering from trauma in the opening scene when they suddenly realise they are completely disconnected from reality due to their compulsion and over-reliance on technology.

The scenes un-fold to reveal a character (yes, the guy with lights in his eyes) known as ‘Dystopia’; who is seen entering from the background of the living room and represents a looming stalker-like presence, symbolising the rapid take-over of the character’s sense of freedom from technology they are surrounded by.

The single cover (designed by band artist collaborator, Christopher Allen) features a further statement of a burning mobile phone, something that for Thunder On The Left epitomises the perfect form of rebellion, and the key to remaining mindful in this ever distracted society.

The band embrace this in their music further, having been seen to write on their hands at live shows the words ‘present’ on one hand, and ‘distracted’ on the other – something they feel represents the eternal modern day struggle in the ‘always online’ culture we live in.

Get Hooked on Niña Dioz, Mexico’s First Out Rapper

From MicahTron to Dio Ganhdih, the queer hip-hop scene has recently exploded.

The newest arrival is the spitfire Niña Dioz, a rapper who hails from Monterey, Mexico. She just moved to the US and released a hit music video for her song Dale.

However, although she now lives in LA, her heart belongs to Mexico. She holds the notable, and perhaps dangerous, honor of being Mexico’s first openly lesbian rapper.

When she was a child, her inspiration came from many different sources. She sat in front of MTV for hours at a time, watching everything from Beasty Boys to Missy Elliot to the Fugees to TLC.

She said in a recent interview, “It really blew my mind!” One of the most awe-inspiring experiences was when her friend brought a Dr. Dre album back from the US in 2001. When she wasn’t marveling at the marijuana leave on the cover, which she called “artwork,” she was listening to Metallica, Madonna, Cypress Hill and Nirvana.

When she entered the rap scene on her own terms, she didn’t face much blowback or bullying for being a woman, but her sexuality made men uneasy. Men felt territorial about a queer person encroaching on their heterosexual machismo culture. That’s why Dioz is Mexico’s first rapper, male or female, to be openly gay.

Since coming out, Dioz feels more open about herself and more determined to create safe spaces for people like her. “Where I’m from,” she says, “women are getting killed just because they’re women. It’s necessary to keep fighting for equality, and I can use my music as a tool.”

She has some advice for young women hoping to follow in her footsteps. This could apply to any queer woman trying to break into the arts:

  • Do the music (or art) that is real to you.
  • Be unafraid of being different.
  • Don’t worry about what other people say.
  • Dream big and remember that everything is possible.
  • If you love it enough, it will become a necessity.

While she’s in the US, Dioz will be touring, so catch her at a concert hall near you. Get connected with her music here.

Dio Ganhdih Makes Queer Indigenous Rap

I rep the Iroquois nations / For the next seven generations – Dio Ganhdih

Dio Ganhdih’s Indigenous Lyricist is an anthem for aboriginal artists.

This Native American artist is taking the music scene by storm. She got her start as a preteen by writing lyrics in her journal, and really took off when she began freestyling in college. She completed a course called Intro to Hip-Hop: A Philosophical Discourse and got an A+ in freestyle and battle rap.

That was the moment when she switched from writing poetry to writing lyrics.

Dio’s identity is a complicated one. She was born on Haudenosaunee Territory in Upstate New York on a reservation on the Onodaga Nation, which is a major nation of the Iroquois Confederacy.

However, her father is Mohawk and her mother is Cherokee and Armenian. Despite her Eastern European heritage, she identifies most strongly with her indigenous roots.

Dio’s popularity skyrocketed after she released Pussy Vortex, a song about unhealthy relationships and the celebration of queer sexuality. The otherworldly song is both syrupy sweet and endlessly transcendent.

Through music, Dio hopes to rewrite the narrative of Native Americans. She told Bitch Media,

The narrative I want to re-write and gain control of is, one, we [Native Americans] are not extinct, and two, we exist in many forms. Through my lyricism and performance, my artistry creates a new story of what indigenous folk can be and do (which is anything!). My narrative decolonizes by celebrating my heritage while still proclaiming my individuality. But that’s just my narrative; obviously I cannot speak for all natives.”

She’s passionate about decolonization and does so by working with other indigenous activist-musicians, such as Chhoti Maa, who describes herself as a migrant, artist and witch. Dio loves working with her because when they team up,

You can expect a fuck ton of indigenous pride, community building, decolonizing everything from sex to gender to food, sharing of medicines and a supreme collection of feminine energies.”

Listen to Dio’s Pussy Vortex below.

Check Out A New Album from Swedish Lesbian Rapper Silvana

Silvana Imam is a fiery lesbian Swedish rapper who rhymes about feminism, immigration and sexuality. Her motto? “I just write the truth of me.”

Rap helped her define her identity. Half-Lithuanian and half-Syrian, she often felt like an outsider as a child even though she looked white. Because her parents spoke only Lithuanian and Arabic at home, Silvana’s Swedish suffered.

She turned, surprisingly, to American rap music. Perhaps Silvana connected with it because these artists rapped about being colored outsiders on the fringe of mainstream society, just as Silvana was. Perhaps she connected with it because African-American rap was the furthest thing from her mostly-white Swedish community and Silvana needed an escape. Or perhaps she just liked the way it sounded. She started with Xzibit, the Fugees and Nas, and only later added Swedish rappers such as Petter.

The Fugees’ music taught her about the transformative power of socially conscious rap. Silvana finally had a framework for understanding and expressing the problems of the world, which influences her work to this day.

If you think it’s too late to start your own rap career, take heart – Silvana didn’t start rapping professionally until she was in her twenties. She had to fit in rap around her difficult psychology coursework in university. Despite the scheduling difficulties, she soon finished her first mixtape, Requiem. Her first album, IMAM, followed to widespread acclaim. Her second album, Naturkraft, debuted in 2016.

Her lyrics include incendiary lines such as, “Go kiss your f—ing Swaztikas,” and “We are the new Stonewall Revolution.”

In a recent VICE interview, she discussed her relationship with rap, what it’s like to win Sweden’s Artist of the Year 2016, and the widespread success of her latest album, Naturkraft.

She told VICE,

Everything I do is political. Society made me political – I’m a lesbian, a feminist, and an immigrant. We have a saying in Sweden: once you see political structures, you can’t un-see them.”

Sweden has responded well to her political music. She’s won several Swedish Grammies, including Lyricist of the Year, Best Live Act of the Year and Artist of the Year 2016. She was the first Swedish rapper to ever win Artist of the Year.

Listen to one of her most popular songs, Tänd Alla Ljus, which discusses capitalism and depression, below.

Then read more about Silvana and pick up your own copy of Naturkraft.

Hip-Hop’s Hottest New Artist Is A Lesbian Named Young M.A

“When you’re tired of your man, give me a call,” raps hip hop’s hottest new star, Young M.A, in her breakout hit OOOUUU.

In between shots of Hennessy, she rhymes about oral sex, throws money in the air and gobbles Chinese food.

It’s not hard to see why women, gay and straight, have found Young M.A irresistible. The young stud rapper rocks long, silky braids and spits rhymes harder than many of her male contemporaries. “Yeah, I’m pretty, but I’m loco,” she says with a cocky grin.

From the OOOUUU video alone, you can tell that she’s genuine. The video is rough and low-budget. There are no special effects. The first fifteen seconds chronicle Young M.A’s pregame with an entourage of studs, a rare occurrence in rap videos where women are always the objects, never the subjects. As soon as the video starts, it’s obvious that you’re not at some flashy party that Young M.A staged just to look rich.

No, you’re hanging out with her crew on a regular Friday night – if you’ve ever drunk too much alcohol and bragged about your romantic exploits, you’ll feel right at home in this song.

Young M.A has been rapping for years, but in recent months OOOUUU has skyrocketed off the charts, and received remixes from stars such as Nicki Minaj and 50 Cent. The single has been streamed on Spotify over 37 million times alone.

She’s the first openly lesbian rapper to cross over to mainstream music in recent years.

Angel Haze (pansexual) and Azealia Banks (bisexual) have had mild mainstream success; their respective hit singles, “Battle Cry” and “212” have had 8.6 million and 62 million Spotify streams. However, both women present as feminine. Young M.A is anything but. “Mama wondered why I never liked to wear a skirt,” she raps in “Quiet Storm.”

The OOOUUU video features her wearing a snapback, rocking sweatpants and flashing a grill. She’s not going to conform to gender roles, and she’s proud of that.


However, in a recent interview with Pigeons and Planes, Young M.A explained that she doesn’t want to be an LGBT icon. She doesn’t see herself as a trailblazer, she just is who she is. And she dislikes labels.

Despite her reluctance to be the face of the LGBT hip-hop movement, it’s hard to deny that she’s paving the way for other queer rappers. We can only hope that Young M.A capitalizes on the success of OOOUUU in order to keep making music about the black lesbian experience.

Queer Feminist Rapper Silvana Imam Is A Progressive Voice In Sweden’s Hip-Hop Scene

Originally born out of spoken word poetry where its performers would recite their words to a beat, it’s fitting that rap music is often used for far more than people rapping about how many houses they’ve got, how many bottles they ordered at the club or how many chains they have swinging around their neck. Very often it’s used to speak up and speak out about the oppression and hardships that people face.


Wise to this use of rap music, is queer feminist rapper, Silvana Imam, who is incredibly outspoken about the mistreatment of people in her home country of Sweden.

Take, for instance, her performance at a protest that called out a neo-Nazi group who had recently attacked an anti-racist demonstration. At the rally she performed her track Tystas Ner and with lyrics like “Nazis sitting in parliament” that were pointed barbs towards to the political party the Swedish Democrats, Imam says that she received…

“a lot of threats from people affiliated with SD.That shit scared me … I still receive hate on the Internet for being a feminist and anti-racist. I’m like, this is what you have to put up with for being a freedom fighter?”

Not that a few hundred hateful comments on Twitter are going to shut Imam up because as a lesbian, a feminist and as someone who regularly speaks out against racism, there’s lots on her mind that she needs to get out there. Take her EP När Du Ser Mig • Se Dig for example, where she calls out the gender binary (“gender is a kind of imitation for which there is no original”), notes racial discrimination in the workplace (“15 million people in the world are called Mohammed but whose name do they want to see on the CV?”) and cries out for change like the unapologetic feminist that she so proudly is (“the patriarchy must be overthrown”).

More: ‘Sisterhood of Hip Hop’ is Back, And So Will Out Rapper Siya

Other lyrics like “take the cake and throw it back at him, Anna-Mae” where she calls out her fellow rappers (this lyric is in reference to footage of Ike Turner aggressively shoving cake into the face of Tina Turner, Anna Mae being her real name) may cause offense but Imam never treads lightly in her music and that’s part of her appeal.


On the social commentary of her lyrics, Imam also explains that:

“I’m a conscious rapper, I write songs about my life, and since I write through a lesbian-immigrant-woman’s perspective, it’s labeled as “political.” I’m letting people know how fucked up the world is through my art. This is about my life and my own survival in this patriarchal and anti-democratic world. A woman who writes love songs to other women causes immediate chaos in most peoples’ minds? That is something you should question. and not whether I’m political or not.”

We can’t argue that, as Imam’s words are more important than the question of her political leanings and we look forward to hearing more music from her when her second EP, Jag Dör För Dig, drops sometime this Spring.

‘Sisterhood of Hip Hop’ is Back, And So Will Out Rapper Siya

Like country music, the rap music industry has a bit of a bad reputation as being homophobic. Many rappers will regularly use the f-slur or use their lyrics to degrade and ridicule gay people, seemingly for comedic effect.

Rap music is also regarded as a hostile place for women too as although Nicki Minaj is a household name (with the bars and sales to back it up) she is one of few and a quick glance at the comments sections in article about her will show you that she is often criticised more harshly than her male counterparts.

The rapper has also said herself that some men don’t want to sing along to her songs because, despite her phenomenal talent, they fear it will make them look weak.


Consider New York-based rapper Siya a bit of a double whammy then. She considers herself to be “the first openly gay female in the industry” yet despite the chips being stacked against her, she is rapidly rising through the ranks with catchy jams like ‘Real MVP’ (which is a love song of sorts) captivating listeners.

She’s used to tough situations and male dominated groups though as Siya first turned to rap when she was just 7 years old, having to deal with the struggles of a drug-addicted mother and an absent father at the time. Siya also explains that she “grew up very closely with other people from my ‘hood and we were knuckleheads as far as hustling and getting into trouble. I was one of the few females hanging with a bunch of dudes.”

Siya is also adamant about being a role model in the industry too, saying that:

“I’m very open about my sexuality. I make it clear because I’m not ashamed, nor am I afraid of what other people might say or think. For me to not conform to how they want us to be, act or look, I think I do a great job being an idol for little girls.

Women don’t need to strip down to succeed in the music business, she added, which is why you won’t find her wearing skimpy outfits in any of her videos. I want to show them it’s OK to do something better than a man and not have to take your clothes off. I think that’s a very powerful statement.

If your music is dope, it’ll speak for itself.”

The swathes of positive comments from fans on Siya’s social media profiles demonstrate exactly how much of a role model she is proving to be. As a returning cast member on the upcoming season of Sisterhood of Hip Hop (a show that documents how five female rappers are breaking through in the industry) which will air on Oxygen later this year, that positive reach is only go to be so much wider.

Siya released a mixtape in January and her debut album S.T.I.L.L will be released soon.

SIYA is the Mainstream Lesbian Rapper You’ve Been Looking For

As it stands, we have yet to see a lesbian rapper in the mainstream music industry. Contrary to popular belief, female MC du jour Angel Haze isn’t a lesbian (she’s pansexual) and despite well publicised rumours touted by the tabloids and the media, Queen Latifah and Missy Elliot aren’t ‘openly’ gay either.

It means that there’s a glaring lack of representation and a missed opportunity too. There are already plenty of rap songs out there about women, but when it comes to shared experiences, only a lesbian would be able to relate to the hardships of being a lesbian. But, up and coming rapper SIYA could be this very voice.

A cast member of The Sisterhood of Hip Hop (which began airing on Oxygen in August), Siya joins four other talented hopefuls (Bia, Nyemiah Supreme, Diamond and Brianna Perry) as they “navigate their way through the male-dominated music industry.” Produced by T.I the show has featured everyone from DJ Khaled, Pharrell, Eve, Rick Ross and Lil Jon just to name a few, each of them helping the women breakthrough and breathe a fresh, female perspective into the rap genre.

SIYA is one to watch for queer viewers of the show not just because of her unashamed sexuality (she’s openly gay and one of her mixtapes was even called D.Y.K.E) but because of her raw talent. Whether she’s rapping about her ‘Real M.V.P’ and why her lady love deserves some trophies or ‘I’m Gone’ which discusses both the high life and the struggle with honesty, SIYA’s bars are brilliants and her beats are catchy.

There’s no skirting across the issues here and just like Drake’s branded style of music, things are emotional and relatable and with tracks like these it’s really no wonder why SIYA was named one of “10 New York rappers to watch for”.




Taking the Rap for Homophobia

For many years it seemed hip hop was dominated by macho, gay-hating artists. There was no place for alternative sexual identities. Thanks to a more diverse range of artists working in the genre, that seems to be changing now.

Macklemore, Angel Haze, SIYA and Frank Ocean are part of the new generation of LGBT rappers whose lyrics deal explicitly with gay and lesbian themes. San Francisco-based rapper MichaTron is openly lesbian and has this to say about her oeuvre:

‘I love women and nothing’s gonna change that. I hid it for years until one day I said “F*** it”. Everyone else just had to deal with it.’


Her 2013 video for her track “Bumper” was filmed on location at the Oakland Pride Festival and the San Francisco Dyke March. The video represents LGBTs as passionate, fun-loving and absolutely proud of who they are. Not your typical hip-hop video!

But is this new sub-genre of pink hip-hop a little too much for the fans? Absolutely not says MicahTron, who has just turned 26 years old.

‘A lot of people have said that they love the fact that it was shot at Pride.’


‘Most of these [new LGBT hip-hop artists] are styled, photographed or even working with people who are queer,” she adds. ‘Most of the brilliant eyes behind the scenes in the industry belong to gay people. It’s just taken time for people to deal with it when it’s in their face.’

MicahTron hopes to become a role model for other young lesbians hoping to break into the world of rap. She’d also like to ‘go mainstream and win Grammys’, and she might just do it given the success she’s enjoyed so far. It already seems that her song “Bumper” is a kind of anthem for this new generation of young African-Americans who don’t see any kind of contradiction between being LGBT and loving hip-hop.

Oxygen’s New Reality Series Sisterhood of Hip Hop Includes Out Rapper SIYA

Oxygen Media introduces the next generation of female emcees in the new reality series, “Sisterhood of Hip Hop” – #SisterhoodofHipHop , which includes up-and-coming out rapper SIYA.

Discovered and mentored by the biggest names in hip hop, the new hip-hop stars – Bia, Brianna Perry, Diamond, Nyemiah Supreme and Siya each bring a unique voice and style to the table. The eight episode series will also include appearances by hip hop icons, mentors and friends such as Eve, Lil Jon, Travie McCoy, Rick Ross, Tank, and Irv Gotti among others.

With Grammy-Award winning recording artist T.I. serving as Executive Producer, along with Christian Sarabia, Rabih Gholam and Roy Orecchio, this new series gives viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the music business and what happens when women want to change the game to root for each other and not against each other. Despite the sacrifices they often make in their personal lives, these “femcees” are determined to succeed, but not at the cost of the sisterhood they have built while overcoming the barriers and challenges that come with a rise to stardom.

“The talented artists featured in ‘Sisterhood of Hip Hop’ are vibrant characters that will resonate with Oxygen’s young, female viewers. The optimistic and empowering nature of the show is truly unique and we look forward to rooting for each woman’s success and giving fans the opportunity to follow along on their journey.”

Rod Aissa, SVP, Original Programming and Development, Oxygen Media.


Born in California and raised in Bed-Stuy, a legendary Brooklyn hotbed of influential hip hop music, Siya overcame many challenges early on including a drug-addicted mother and incarcerated father, as well as her own run-ins with the law. Siya’s true support came from her grandmother who took her in, but also from the streets of Bed-Stuy. Music became an outlet for her and after moving to Atlanta to pursue her dream, she eventually built a rep for herself and caught the attention of many major labels and well-known artists. While some people in the industry were afraid of how an openly gay female rapper would fit in the genre, Siya remained determined and refused to compromise who she is, always staying true to her own unique voice and style. One of Complex magazine’s rappers to watch out for in 2012, word around the industry is that Siya is the next big thing.

Insightful Discussion on the Cultural Impact of Hip Hop and Feminism

Watch two brilliant minds discuss an art form that has become a driving force in so many of our lives. Joan Morgan, author of the seminal book “When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost : My Life as A Hip Hop Feminist“, and Dr. Brittney Cooper of Rutgers University discuss hip hop, feminism and pleasure politics.