Question for Nzinga, Seated (or anyone else who knows rap/hip hop)

O Nzinga, She Who Knoweth All About Hip Hop Stuff (and/or her minions),

In the Answer Songsthread, you and some others mentioned Ice Cube’s song “No Vaseline.” Lyrics.

Reading them, and hearing the song on Youtube, I note that the central metaphor of the song is about NWA losing their edge and “bending over” for the white audience, money, respectability, and specifically their manager, and therefore being screwed with, as the title says, no vaseline. However, while all the band members are mentioned, this metaphor is most sharply and viciously directed specifically at Easy-E.

Easy-E, of course, later died of AIDS. It is generally assumed that he got the disease either through drug use or through promiscuous heterosexual sex, as he was not known to be bisexual. (He had something like 7 children from 6 different women.)

My question is - how likely is it considered to be that Ice Cube chose this metaphor because, having known him for so long, he knew that Easy-E was bisexual? Have there been any rumors within the hip-hop community, any men stepping forward and claiming to have slept with him, or anything like that? If he was generally known to be bisexual, of course, it would have destroyed his gangster image, so there’s no way he could have been open about it.

I’m just curious, really.

I’m pretty certain the answer is almost zero. I’ve never heard any inkling of Eazy’s sexuality being in question. Men having been denigrating other men using homophobic slurs since forever.

That said I’m not an insider and haven’t followed rap closely in about ~ten years.

That’s what I had figured before, but the combination of the song being so specific and so vicious, combined with the AIDS death, made me wonder again.

I will step up and admit that I have been schooled hard on these boards by hip hop fans. So I don’t claim to be the queen of hip hop.

I remember the battle with Ice Cube and Eazy. Ice Cube wasn’t coming at him like he was actually gay. I have never heard of him being actually gay until quite recently, when watching a documentary or something. Someone speculated and I remember saying, “What? Eazy? Nah.” But who knows. Maybe he was. I mean, AIDS was much more common in gay men at the time, right? But, yeah, all of that ‘now you gettin’ fucked without vaseline’ talk was just macho talk. It doesn’t mean he actually thought he was a homosexual. Interestingly, Dr. Dre WAS accused of being gay. Ice Cube’s exhibit A was some pictures of Dre in lip gloss and sparkles or some shit. Silly.

Want to hear something interesting? I never thought that Magic Johnson was gay. I never knew anyone else in my community that thought so. When Rush Limbaugh said it, we didn’t even take it at all seriously. We just punted that whole idea.

I watched a documentary about him and Larry Bird’s famous rivalry recently. I watched about 3 minutes of it and said. “Oh my god. He’s gay.” I went to my husband and said, “You know, I think Magic Johnson is gay!” and he said. “Wow. I think you are right. I never considered that or even heard anyone I know suggest that.” So that was weird.

I could be wrong. I guess I am going by some gay stereotypes that don’t really have any basis in science, so I could very well be wrong. But I got the feeling he was.

Not only do rappers talk about other rappers taking it up the ass, but they occasionally talk about themselves fucking another rapper in the ass. I don’t think this has ever been intended to suggest anyone’s sexuality so much as it’s meant to be a sign of a lack of manhood to be on the receiving end. As Nzinga said, macho talk.

That being said, I don’t think I’ve ever given any thought to Eazy E’s sexuality before this thread.

I think part of the problem with NWA and Ice Cube was Cube wrote most of the lyrics. Then because he didn’t think he was being paid fairly the group turned on him. Ren was never as good a writer as Ice Cube and the group suffered for it. “No Vaseline” is really harsh, IMHO, because there’s some true hurt behind it and even more-so in retrospect.

I realize this is a gross generalization of what happened.

Quoted for truth.

Eazy-E sort of stumbled upon the rap thing - he was a drug dealer and a hustler, but teamed up with Jerry Heller (who has a long history of managing funk bands like WAR) to form Ruthless Records. Eazy and Heller were the principals, and they brought on Dr. Dre and DJ Yella for production and beats, MC Ren and Ice Cube for lyrics and lead MC duties (along with Eazy). So there you have N.W.A.

AFAIK the contracts for each member were drawn up by Heller and Eazy. Ice Cube was a lyricist and MC and questioned the division of royalties - Eazy bristled, and Cube confronted Heller. The end result was Cube leaving N.W.A. and Ruthless and becoming a solo artist.

The dis battle started with N.W.A., actually. “100 Miles and Running” has a line about dropping from 5 to 4. They also started referring to him as B.A. (Benedict Arnold). It was after these slights that Cube went nuclear with “No Vaseline.” Ironically, after talking so much shit about Cube, both Yella and Dre investigated the money situation at Ruthless and similarly felt they were getting screwed over. Suge Knight allegedly threatened Eazy and/or Heller, which is how he got Dre signed to Death Row, and the rest, as they say, is history.

The sodomy and homosexual allusions to Eazy were really about “punking” him. There has never been, to my knowledge, any rumors about him being gay. In fact, it was Dre and Yella who got painted with the gay rumors because as members of the World Class Wreckin Cru they wore glam outfits with sequins and eyeliner.

Eazy was a character. I remember he rolled up to a dinner with President Bush once after donating a shitload of money, and refused to apologize for it.