Lil B's Big Gay Album And The Current Marvin Gaye Moment In Rap

“I’m ready to give up my old thoughts/I’ma move past what a saw/I’ma do what a want and be happy/I’m not gonna rob or kill to survive/Everything I seen was a lie/I’m not ready to die/I love myself…” — Lil B, “I Hate Myself.”

“Evolve already,” said the button Dan Savage wore to a Gay Pride reception at the White House last night. Well? Oakland rapper Lil B, at least, seems to be listening. His new album, I’m Gay (I’m Happy) came out yesterday on iTunes. I’ve been listening to it this morning, and it sounds really good.

Of course, there is the basic level good of a prominent artist choosing “I’m Gay” as a title for a rap album. And Lil B has been saying nice things about it, too.

“I hope that I can turn some of my fans that might be homophobic or supporters that might be homophobic and say, “You know what, we’re all one people. This is love.” It’s just respect, and I did that to bring people together and bring more love and to spark the minds of people and not let words and judgments and stereotypes stop you from loving.”

There are other interesting things to talk about. And if I had more time this morning, I would try think of a more fluid transition to write here.

The cover of the album is an homage to that of Marvin Gaye’s 1976 classic, I Want You, with Ernie Barnes’ famous painting “Sugar Shack,” which was also featured in the opening credits to the TV show “Good Times.”

Gaye’s influence on hip-hop, always huge, has been especially prominent lately, with Tyler the Creator stating a preference for boogieing to his music in pink panties in “Yonkers,” and Drake naming his new song “Marvin’s Room,” after the late singer’s personal recording studio (where it was recorded) and everybody else jumping on the track to make their own versions. And Big Sean with Roscoe Dash and Kanye West setting the mood with “Marvin Gaye and Chardonnay.”

Here’s another good song from “I’m Gay.”

Gay, Gaye, Game… I have a terrible weakness for bad puns and childishly obvious word play. And no idea what to do about a title for this post.

Previously: Rap Music Is Good Now Because Rappers Aren’t Afraid To Be Weird