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2009: Kanye West institutes the phrase "No homo"
West also brought the phrase "no homo" into the mainstream on a massive scale with his verse in the Jay-Z track "Run This Town:" "It's crazy how you can go from being Joe Blow / to everybody on your dick — no homo." The politics of this trend were and are complicated; the phrase might sound regressive, but as Jonah Weiner argued in Slate, you could look at it as a way for rappers to — at the very least — acknowledge homosexuality and even slyly make jokes about it, without having to couch those references in threats of violence.
2010: Prominent rappers defend DJ Mr. Cee after sex scandal
In 2010, veteran New York DJ Mr. Cee, a longtime DJ at New York's venerable Hot 97 hip-hop station and, at one point, Notorious B.I.G.'s DJ, was arrested for receiving oral sex from a drag queen in a parked car. Surprisingly, the hip-hop community was mostly unruffled; by that point, the respect for Cee, outweighed the homophobia. Even 50 Cent went so far as to say that he'd drop his current DJ in favor of Mr. Cee any day. A few days later at Hot 97's Summer Jam, Mr. Cee played Diana Ross' "I'm Comin' Out" — previously used as a sample in Biggie's "Mo' Money, Mo' Problems" — in a DJ set.
2011: Lil B announces new album, I'm Gay
In 2011, lo-fi rapper Lil B announced that his new album would be called I'm Gay; response was largely positive, though Lil B also received some death threats. Speaking to MTV, he elaborated on his motivation:
I'm very gay, but I love women. I'm not attracted to men in any way. I've never been attracted to a man in my life. But yes, I am gay, I'm so happy. I'm a gay, heterosexual male. I got major love for the gay and lesbian community, and I just want to push less separation, and that's why I'm doing it. One-hundred years later, people are going to thank me, because people are going to be free.