Update (1/18): Offset published the following explanation and apology on Instagram in connection to his troubling lyric.
Original Story (1/18): Yesterday, hip-hop up-and-comer YFN Lucci released the music video for a new song entitled “Boss Life,” featuring Migos superstar Offset. The song and the video both fit squarely with what both musicians have been working on for the past several months, but music lovers everywhere have been taken aback by one lyric which comes off as homophobic and frankly disturbing.
During his verse, Offset rhymes the line “Pinky ring crystal clear, 40k spent on a private Lear” with “I cannot vibe with queers,” which was immediately troubling and seemed to add to yet another issue in a long line of offenses by a member of Migos against the LGBTQ community. When asked for a comment, Offset sent the following statement to Fuse:
“I didn’t write that about gay people. I have said before since these issues before that I got love for all people. My passion for fashion has lead me to a lot of gay people around me who I have mad respect for and we are very cool so I’m not in a place where I’m hating like that. When I wrote that I was looking up words that could rhyme with the others (here, lear, solitaire, bear) and I saw this definition about her having a queer feeling she was being watched and it fit what I was thinking about a stalker creepy paparazzi situation. To me that “queer” I don’t mean someone who’s gay. I mean lame people who film you, post it and stalk you. Lingo that means strange or odd.”
Listen to "Boss Life" below:
Offset’s reasoning might not “vibe” with everyone—and reasonably so—but let’s say for a moment that it is 100 percent true, and that he simply means “queer” in the sense that people are “strange or odd.” It’s entirely possible that the hip-hop star was going in that direction and made a misstep.
Yet when even one of the LGBTQ community's biggest enemies—President Donald Trump—has mentioned the LGBTQ community, the "Q" undeniably stood for queer. If Offset had said "I cannot vibe with gays" but claimed to take the meaning of gay to be "happy," that would have never made it past the demo phase.
Whatever his intentions were, the final product and the way the word lands on the ear are plain wrong. Before releasing anything with his name attached to it into the world, Offset needs to consider how his words will be heard, and how they will affect the millions who will consume his art—and even those who only catch it when it’s labeled “controversial.” Since he himself doesn’t identify as queer, it seems as if Offset didn’t think about how his word choice would affect (or offend) people and especially those who identify as queer, and that’s not good enough for a star of his caliber. This was a serious lapse in judgment by one of the biggest names in hip-hop, and he needs to do better in the future.
Migos, and its members separately, can’t seem to avoid controversy when it comes to the LGBTQ community based on their lyrics and statements. Last year, the group had to defend itself against comments they made (that may have been taken out of context) about fellow hip-hop artist iLoveMakonnen after he came out publicly as gay. There was also a rumor that when they joined Katy Perry at Saturday Night Live, members of Migos didn’t want to share the spotlight with drag queens, and they insisted on them not being present.
While both those instances could be cases of the artists being misquoted or entirely untrue, Offset’s “I cannot vibe with queers” line sounds ugly and wrong, no matter what explanation is put forth, and there is no reasonable way to sidestep this latest infraction.
Watch Boy George explains why "gay slurs aren't ironic if you're getting beaten" in response to homophobic language in pop music: