Hip-hop and homophobia have been closely linked ever since the genre’s birth over 30 years ago, but as the homosexual community begins to become more accepted in mainstream society, it seems as if the rap community has become more open minded, or has it? XXL magazine has a special investigative reported story on this controversial topic in our new July/August 2011 issue.

The article, titled “Break It Down,” was written by Bethlehem Shoals, who is the founder of freedarko.com and the co-author of The Undisputed Guide to Pro Basketball History. He has also contributed to GQ, The Nation, SLAM, and Spin. For the piece, he spoke to a variety of rappers and music industry professionals to find out their thoughts on the subject. Lil B, who recently released the controversially titled hip-hop album, I’m Gay, weighed in saying, “If I want to say that I’m gay, I can say whatever I want to. Really the word doesn’t mean anything to me but happy.”

Meanwhile, on the flip side Beanie Sigel told XXL that he is homophobic proving not everyone is on the same page with Lil B. “You gay, go ahead, do you,” he said. “I just don’t particularly prefer what your preference is. Just stay far away from me, cuz. Keep that shit all the way in the closet around me. I couldn’t have a gay stylist and all that… I just got that phobia. I don’t like to be around that. For any people who look into it any other way, go into the Bible and look up the story.”

The article goes on to explore the history of homosexuality in hip-hop and it’s controversial role within the music and the culture. Other rap celebrities such as Russell Simmons, N.O.R.E., Iron Solomon, Cee Smith, Duke University professor Mark Anthony Neal and several others speak in the piece

XXLMag.com currently has a portion of the piece online, which you can read here.

To read the entire story, be sure to buy XXL’s July/August issue hitting newsstands nationwide on Tuesday, July 12. —XXL Staff