New York-based rapper and producer Le1f, who is openly gay, took to Twitter last week to sound off on rapper Macklemore, who won two Moonman Awards at the 2013 MTV Video Awards, nabbing one award for his gay marriage song, "Same Love," for Best Video With a Social Message.
"That time that straight white dude ripped off my song then made a video about gay interracial love and made a million dollars," Le1f, born Khalif Diouf, tweeted. The song Le1f refers to is Macklemore’s smash hit "Thrift Shop," not "Same Love."
"Same Love," which featuring vocals from Mary Lambert, has become a hit, peaking at number 11 on Billboard this year, though it was released last summer. Though Le1f has taken issue with the track, a number of critics have praised the song, including the Guardian, which wrote that the cut was "a far cry from the cheese-fest that usually puts commercial interest first, tenuous rhyming couplets second and poignancy last." Rock critic Robert Christagu placed the song as one of the top 10 singles of 2012.
"do proceeds go to any gay people? the HRC? Aids foundation? or does this straight white man keep the money?" Le1f asked during his Twitter rant. "I’m gonna write a song about disabled people, or about the aboriginal struggle. cuz mama needs a new fur coat. oh wait, that’s evil."
Macklemore, who also won a VMA award for Best Hip-Hop video, and his producer Ryan Lewis, are straight but have been allies of the LGBT community for some time and have condemned anti-gay language often used in rap.
"Misogyny and homophobia are the two acceptable means of oppression in hip hop culture. It’s 2012," Macklemore said. "There needs to be some accountability. I think that as a society we’re evolving, and I think that hip-hop has always been a representation of what’s going on in the world right now."
Last November Mackelmore explained to the Associated Press how the song helped shaped views when it comes to LGBT rights.
"To hear people’s testimonials about ’Same Love’ changing the way that they feel about gay people or the language that they use in their everyday life, making them consider changing that language, or changing their hateful perspective on another group of people, it’s exciting to see that music has that capability," he said. "It just affirms what you already believe, but to see it on a tangible level in these cities has been one of the greatest gifts of my career."
The duo also teamed up with the You Can Play campaign, which attempts to eliminate homophobia in sports, music and entertainment.
"You know someone who’s gay, they just haven’t told you yet," Macklemore says in a YouTube video for the organization. "Don’t let being gay hold you back, and if you’re straight, do not hold others back... Anti-gay language has no place in sports, or music."
Nevertheless, Le1f believes "Same Love" isn’t going to help LGBT youth to come out.
"gay kids don’t come out cuz of Macklemore vids. they come out to Bjork concerts YA DIG??" Le1f tweeted before making fun of some of the lyrics in "Same Love."
"it’s awesome that money went to the right place! it saddens me out that a straight man is the voice pop music has chosen for gay rights," he wrote.
He went on to say that Macklemore ripped off his song "Wut" for his hit single "Thrift Shop."
"at the end of the day, i openly have no respect for any artists ripping from other artists, so blatantly."
Check out Le1f’s video for "Wut" and Macklemore’s "Same Love" below:
From our media partner EDGEJason St. Amand