Recently, while out shopping over the weekend, I came across a magazine vendor. As I was trying to decide which Hip Hop publication to purchase, there was one that stood out from the others.

The magazine did not stand out because one of my favorite artists was on the cover or because of some interesting rivalry brewing. This particular issue was peculiar due to the manner in which the two men on the cover were posed for the photograph.

The two artists in question here, are 50 Cent and Soulja Boy; two of the most influential rappers in the music industry. My initial reaction to seeing the magazine was ‘this looks extremely gay.’

The photo depicts Soulja Boy grabbing his genital area with 50 Cent standing just beside/behind him with his left arm draped around the young superstar. I thought to myself, ‘maybe I’m being too critical or just reading too much into the cover.’ However, with all of the controversy recently surrounding Hip Hop and its connections with the “illuminati” and allegations of rampant homosexuality among Hip Hop’s most prominent entertainers, I figured I had valid suspicions.

I finished up my shopping and left the store, but the thoughts and feelings of what I had witnessed refused to leave me. What was becoming of Hip Hop? Who is really in charge of our industry and where were they leading it? These are the questions that plagued me throughout the remainder of that day and write this present moment.

I decided to turn to the blogosphere to see if my sentiments were shared by other supporters of Hip Hop.

It didn’t take very long to see that across the board, the prevailing opinion of the majority of bloggers was the ‘gay undertone’ of the magazine cover. Even in barber shops and sports bars, the magazine cover was one of the major topics. Many of the patrons ridiculed the artists for allowing themselves to be photographed in such a manner. Others defended the magazine stating ‘the uproar is being caused by paranoid and homophobic individuals.

I feel that a person’s sexual preference is their business and their decision. However, in an industry full of so-called ‘tough-guys’ and ‘thugs,’ this particular magazine cover appears to be a bit out of the ordinary. The staunch supporters and die-hard fans of Hip Hop feel that their beloved genre is being infiltrated by people who want to see the artform destroyed.

They also feel that the Hip Hop community has been betrayed by some of its most popular artists.

The influence that music in general and Hip Hop in particular has on the youth today is enormous. This means that we must be very careful and ever vigilant of the message that is conveyed in the music, videos, and magazines. We must control our own destiny, and if not we are in for one wild ride.

DISCLAIMER: The beliefs and viewpoints expressed in opinion pieces, letters to the editor, by columnists and/or contributing writers are not necessarily those of Our Weekly.