“OOOUUU” by Young M.A

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“All the dykes out there know exactly what I’m talking about. It ain’t for a guy to understand.” Young M.A’s “OOOUUU” was 2016’s queer hip-hop anthem. Written as a “feel-good record,” the song’s central mode is audacity, from its onomatopoetic title (“When I said ‘OOOUUU’ it was just another way of being free”) to its lyrics (“I need a rich bitch not a cheap ho”). But for all of M.A’s sly posturing, she is enacting something impossible: the hottest M.C. in the game is a masculine-presenting unapologetic dyke. There is much to critique about the way she leverages misogyny to claim the throne—she is playing the game rather than changing it. But the fact remains that she’s dominating a scene that has long derided—or denied—queer existence. As M.A tells it: “if you don’t understand it you don’t got to understand it.”

-Justin Sherwood

Justin SherwoodJustin Sherwood is the author of the chapbook Low Theory (Seven Kitchens Press, 2016). His poems and essays have appeared in H.O.W. Journal, WSQ, New Criticals, and The Poetry Project Newsletter. He’s a contributing writer for Scout: Poetry in Review. Find him on twitter @JustinSherwood.

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