Rapper Makonnen made waves earlier this year when he came out to the world through a series of Twitter posts. He recently sat down with Fader to tell why he came out, his response to the Migos homophobic comments and being gay in hip hop.
Why did this feel like the right time to come out?
I don't even know. It's just me and my life. I'm living. I'm 27. The world is changing, right? Donald Trump [was] about to make his big announcement on the goddamn 20th [of January]. Everybody know I'm gay and shit, so it's like, I might as well go ahead and make my little announcement to the world so I can move on with my life. I said whatever I said in my tweet, and then I moved on with it. Here goes America, let me focus on that!
Was it scary?
I've been a fighting motherfucker, I've been living, I've been to jail, I done did the real shit already. Saying I'm gay, that's like, “Oh shit, I'm man enough!” In this current day and age, where everybody is being so real and so out, and so, you know, straightforward, I was like, I guess I might as well be part of the movement, right?
Did you ever consider coming out earlier, like when you were first getting attention in music?
I just respect the game I’ve been invited to play. It’s like you’ve been called into the NBA and “Oh shit, you scoring!” And then you decided you want to wear a goddamn bandana, and that’s kinda not part of the NBA rules but, like, “It’s cool bruh, you can play, do your thing!” So the elders, they were kind saying, “Hip-hop, we don’t do all of that gay shit, we all on straight shit.” But now it’s like — I put my bandana on.
I guess everybody felt like I was lying and I was ashamed for it, 'cause I didn't come out as gay earlier. It's like, why do I need to come out as gay to do open heart surgery on your dumb ass? Please explain that.
When did you tell your mom you were gay?
I told her, like, right before I was gonna tweet? It was like, “Hey mom” [mumbles] “I’m gay.” End of the day, sky’s blue.
“It was like, ‘Hey mom, I’m gay.’ End of the day, sky’s blue.”
The next morning she like, “Makonnen what the fuck! Everybody calling my goddamn phone!” You’d have thought I won the Grammys. Like, “What did you do?!” “I just came out as gay!” She like, “What? I thought it wasn’t a big deal.” “That’s what I’m saying, it’s not a big deal!” Well, it is a big deal in my field of … but she come from the hood. She know all this shit.
How accepting of a community did you grow up in?
I felt a ways about it. Kind of odd and pushed out. I was weird the whole time. That’s what they start saying, “Oh, you weird, you weird, you weird.” I’ve always been felt like an outcast. Now I’ve come to my realization that what that meant was that I was gay?
What do you think it was about you that marked you as “weird”?
Um. Being into the beauty industry and shit. And girls’ feelings. My other brothers all came from gangbanging and sports and shit like that. And it’s like, “Shit. I’ma stay in the house! And hang out with these girls! Just figure out what they about!” And it’s like [puts on deep voice] “You a pussy, you a punk, you weird.” And it’s like [long sigh] — “I guess, man.” And then I come and try to be like, “Nah I ain’t no punk, I’ll come out there wit’ y’all! What you wanna do?!”
What about when you were older? Like when you left Atlanta and went back to California?
I was living in San Francisco. Had a lot of friends up there, and I was seeing a girl up there at the time. Complicated shit. Like, Ohhhh, San Francisco is gay as fuck — and here I am with this girl and — and I’m dealing with my gay — and this shit is like the land of gay! And I’m just using you to stay here to become a closeted gay … I can’t do all this shit — I’ve got to do me. San Francisco’s a great place but for me, I just would have been more confused and lost than I ever was.
I needed to go somewhere where I don’t know nobody else. And I feel like I was looking into Oregon like, Damn, what’s that — whole bunch of woods out there — coyotes and bears?! Shit and they had to tear down all these woods. That’s real man shit! And they didn’t have WiFi back then and they were traveling with lanterns and some dogs. Fuck. Those are men, dawg! And I don’t think nobody even cared if they were sleeping with each other or sleeping with whoever! As long is the job is goddamn done right and it’s correct and sustaining.
Do you think people care who you’re sleeping with?
Yeah. Because it’s like, yeah. I like cock! I've had sex with vagina. Maybe one day later on if I want to maybe, you know, whatever — I don't know! I'm living and learning. But right now it's like, yup, I'm 27, I'm gay, this is me, whatever y'all. But you just get told, “Oh you gay, you this, you bi, you a faggot, you this, you straight, why you out here playing with this girl, da da da. I was like, “Lemme start figuring out what I’m doing.”
I didn’t start having sex until after 18 or something like that. I didn’t start developing into those sexual parts of my life until later on. I couldn’t say when I was 13 or 14, “Oh, I’m gay. I’m straight.” I wasn’t having sex then! Like, “When did you first start knowing you were gay?” “When did all y’all start fuckin’ getting ya dicks wet and start having nuts and catching hard-ons and shit??!” That’s all I’m doing is catching a hard on. Plain human.
And it’s not like all of a sudden I’m gonna start wearing dresses and high heels and shit. I’ve always worn stuff and people been like, “That’s gay, that’s gay.” Hell yeah, that’s what I wanna wear. And I’m still into the goddamn fight shit.
In Atlanta’s burbling music scene, Makonnen was both an insider and a heretic. In early 2014 he self-produced the typically atypical original beat for “Tuesday”; later, it was reworked with big drums from Metro Boomin and Sonny Digital. Over the years, he’s traded verses with Gucci Mane, Key!, Father, Rich the Kid, and Migos, who jumped on the remix to his underrated banger, “Whip It,” in 2015.
Socially, though, he kept his distance. Maybe it was because his stuff was a little more left-field; maybe it was because he just never quite found where he fit.
Recently, a Rolling Stone interviewer broke the news to Migos that Makonnen had come out. Their initial response sounded both unconsidered and critical. While Quavo stated that there’s “nothing wrong with the gays,” Offset seemed to suggest that the online support for Makonnen’s statement meant “the world is fucked up.” Quavo then added that Makonnen’s legitimacy in “talking about trapping and selling Molly, doing all that” was undermined by him coming out. It was a confusing passage, and the actual intent of the original quotes have not been commented on or clarified.
Online, fan backlash quickly popped up. A few hours after the RS interview was published Migos released a statement, saying in part, “We have no problem with anyone’s sexual preference. We love all people.”
What’d you think of Migos’s comments about you in Rolling Stone?
[They said] some comments like, "World's fucked up." My world, that I was living in, was fucked up for me. That's all I can say to clear those comments up like that. My world. The world itself is a beautiful place. It's a natural habitat where people can live at.
Have you talked to them since?
Nah! We don't really talk no more. We ain't never really talk, you know what I'm saying? I've always had business with everybody. But it wasn't a whole bunch of like, "Yeah we used to [hang out]. Damn Makonnen! You coulda just told us, bruh, you can kick wit us all day." And I was like, I really don't kick wit you all. I really don't know y'all. Like, it was all music shit.
You know it’s like, "Oh shit, all y'all from Atlanta.” But like, Atlanta's big as fuck. So you see Metro getting groceries in the morning and 21's just catching a goddamn cappuccino? Like, nah. Everybody's living they own damn lives in this big ass place.
They seemed to be suggesting that you lacked credibility in rapping about selling drugs because you were gay.
Did someone mention credible and not mention incredible? That's really my only comment. Was there not an "in" front of that credible? I can vouch for myself. If we look back at the track record, I thought it was “my friend Makonnen teaching me how to whip it.” I thought he was “my friend.” But you see how friends do in interviews. So it's like, Oh well. With friends like these, who needs enemies. And now you gotta come back with some sorry ass excuse. Nah. That’s only cause you got the #1 record and you didn’t wanna fuck it up.
I've seen a few [people online] trying to defend me against the Migos and all that shit. Guys, if you all know me, I’m always about “let's keep some peace.” It don't even matter. Migos say whatever they said. It's a misunderstanding. But there's no war over here. It can get messy in Atlanta, though, 'cause it's probably more gays than it is goddamn straights! They will rise!
What’d you think of the statement they released afterwards?
Y’all gotta do y'all for face game to save your face. Y'all gots to do y'all. I'm gon' always do me. I got no animosity towards y'all. [Pause] Why is it about me? Why you talkin' about Makonnen? y'all "Bad and Boujee" right now. Why we talkin' bout Makonnen? It's whatever. Ain't nobody hit me up personally. Y'all want to reach out to me? I'm not hard to find! I'm not hiding from nobody. Don't talk on me saying I feel like I have to hide, don't mention anything about me.
Do you think they have a problem with gay people?
Hell nah, they ain't got no problem with gay people! They fuckin' song is “Versace”! Like, the fuck! Nigga, [Gianni] Versace is the gayest nigga. They ain't got issues with him, why they got issues with me?
Read the full interview here: http://www.thefader.com/2017/03/23/makonnen-coming-out-gay-migos-drake-o...