From the July 2001 issue of Vibe:

THE Gay Rapper
by Chris Nutter

Brooklyn's Caushun is one of the few artists bold to laugh in the face of hip hop's homophobia

Caushun, a 23-year-old-Brooklyn rapper, born Jason Herndon, was sick of the nonexistent gay representation in hip hop. Something had to be done.

Capitalizing on a killer wit, natural flow, and a steely force of personality honed as a fully out gay boy on the mean streets of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brookilyn, this hybrid child of homosexual and hip hop cultures began calling up radio station WQHT (Hot 97) last summer, idetifying himself as the Gay Rapper. Star from the Morning Show with Sar and Buc Wild featuring Miss Jones-- feeling not just his flow but his charisma and fearlessness-asked Caushun if he had anything ready for the radio.

So he turned to a close friend from the neigborhood, 28-year-old songrwriter and record producer Ivan Matias, who, with his partner Andrea Martin, quickly turned lyrics Caushun had been spitting with friends for years into "ooh,who that be?" a part tongue-in-cheek homo thug anthem, part "Here I am don't come for me" introduction to the world of rap. Recorded over a track that can only be described as banjee or ghetto, the song has since gone into rotation on the morning show (where he's become a regular), setting Caushun up for a wildly successful live debut at the radio announcer's Gong Show night at Caroline's Comedy Club in Manhattan, hundreds of calls from listeners, a segment on MTV's The 10 Spot, a completed album, and serious negotiations with several major record labels.

He doesn't think being gay will get in the way of his being taken seriously as a repper. "At first, it may be like 'homo, homo, homo,' but eventually they'll just use my name Caushun, like 'Caushun's nasty! That homo will blaze you!" he says, laughing out loud, on a couch in his brownstone in Brooklyn, as a loyal court of both straight and gay hardrocks chills in the next room. "And once people hear what I'm rhyming about, and that my flow and production are just sick, they'll get past it."

According to Star (who says he coined the term "homo thug"), hip hop isn't just ready for Caushun, it needs him. "It's time for something new, and I think Caushun is that," he says. "And you got rappers out ther right now Caushun could murder in an MC battle."

The most telling thing about Caushun's confidence, especially given the gay-hating potential in the rap game, is that it's an extension of how he earned his prespect in Bed-Stuy, where he says he learned early to shut people down who tried to give him drama. And as for Ice Cube's assertion on "horny lil' Devil" that "real niggas ain't gay," Caushun turns it around. " I hang around real thugs,and what I get from then is they like for me to be real with myself. And I grew up out here, I fought my battles and I'm keepin it real-cause real ain't straight if you're gay. And I'm not the first gay rapper anyway. I'm just the first to admit it."

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