Young Thug Challenges Gender Identity in Rap Music

Since the birth of rap and hip-hop, hyper-masculinity has been a constant trend, bleeding through the majority of songs under the genre. But in 2016, several rappers are starting to go against the gender norms that the culture of rap and hip-hop has created.

Since his debut in the music industry, Jeffery Lamar Williams, known by his stage name “Young Thug,” has never been scared to push the boundaries of gender norms. His uniqueness has shined through his fashion, language, and music leading him to wear women’s dresses in several print issues of magazines, as well as in his popular music video, “Best Friend,” where we wore several pieces of women’s clothing throughout the duration of the video. The rapper has been known to refer to close friends as “hubby” or “lover,” and his fashion sense has always been loud and flashy. This is especially true in comparison to hip-hop’s finest, such as Drake, Kanye West, and Travis Scott, whose more traditional style of manliness oozes through their style and music.

Young Thug has been rocking his signature gender-blending look for quite some time now. Back in fall of 2015, he graced the cover of Dazed Magazine wearing a women’s lace Gucci top, and a tulle skirt. Since then, we’ve seen him openly publicize his love for women’s clothing, despite negative backlash he’s received. He is currently splashed onto a Calvin Klein billboard in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood as part of the brand’s fall 2016 worldwide campaign. In the billboard, Young Thug is rocking a tunic dress and wide-leg pant combo from the brand’s new women’s collection. The bottom of the billboard appropriately reads, “I disobey in #mycalvins.”

Thug is very open about his sense of fashion, stating he “doesn’t believe gender is such a thing.” In a recent interview with GQ Magazine, he states, “The jeans I got on right now, they’re women’s jeans. But they fit how they’re supposed to fit. Like a rock star.” He continues to say, “The only thing I probably have in men’s is like, briefs. T-shirts. 90 percent of my clothes are women’s.”

You can’t help but appreciate his style considering not only are the women’s clothes he is wearing incredibly luxurious and expensive, but let’s be honest, Thug looks better in these outfits than I ever would. Despite having several fellow rappers come forward and publically dis his sense of style, such as Jim Jones, Lord Jamar, and Reggie Ossé, he’s incredibly confident in his choice of fashion. Yes, he puts it on, but he loves doing it. He is never shy about the person he is, and that’s incredibly honorable considering we live in such a judgmental world and he’s in the eyes of the public. Being that we live in such a judgmental, social media-heavy world today, not many people have this type of confidence and “I don’t care attitude” to the point where they are willing to expose themselves to be completely raw.

In support of Young Thug, several fellow rappers have also come forward in support of him, taking fashion notes on his sense of style. Rapper Kid Cudi started the “men in crop tops” movement. Andre 3000 has been known to wear longhaired wigs during his performances, and A$AP Rocky has often worn skirts.

We’ve seen this kind of style with Rock and Roll artists such as David Bowie, Prince, and Lenny Kravitz. Due to hip-hop’s obvious homophobia, considering the idea of being gay is used as a way to weaken in the rap world, this huge for not only the rap world but in society as a whole because it breaks down gender norms and teaches people to be confident and comfortable with who they are. It’s such a serious step in the right direction for society as a whole to break down gender identity, norms, and stereotypes. Keep rocking women’s clothing, Thug.


IMAGE TAKEN from theodysseyonline.com