The words "gay rapper" generally precede Le1f's name, because he is, in fact, a gay rapper and that's a rare thing. It's also a courageous thing, given how underrepresented LGBT people are in hip-hop and hip-hop's own fraught relationship with gayness.
Le1f made his network television debut on last night's episode of Late Show with David Letterman, marking the first time an openly gay rapper has performed on a major network's late-night show. Letterman did not mention Le1f's sexuality during his intro. He said, "Our next guest is a New York rapper and producer, and he's making his network television debut with us right here tonight, so that's great, thank you very much for that. His new EP is titled Hey or Hey! Please welcome Le1f."
And then, while wearing a skort (at least I think it's a skort — the legs are visible and the skirt part hangs loosely, so if this is a skort it's openly skort) and in front of two male backup dancers, Le1f preceded to perform the shit out of his single "Wut." If his appearance and voice scanned ambiguously to people who were being exposed to his talent for the first time, the refrain of "Wut" answered any questions they might have about his identity: "I'm gettin' light in my loafers," he says a few times in the song.
Or maybe people still didn't pick up on it and just saw an energetic, eccentric rapper. Regardless, Le1f didn't hide from himself. He was able to present himself as matter-of-factly gay, as opposed to someone whose gayness is the only fact that matters. He was a human, not a fetish object. He was a rapper, not think-piece fodder. He said as much on Twitter:
thank you so much to @Letterman for inviting me to perform on his stage as a musician and not as a spectacle.
— Le1f ☥ (@LE1FNY) March 14, 2014
It is indeed. What a lovely moment. In the words of Letterman when signing off, "Le1f, everybody, Hey, that's all you need to know."