Rapper Karnage Kills stands out in the macho world of grime music – by taking on homophobia one lyric at a time.
A rising star in the growing genre of urban music that mixes garage and rap, Kills wants to use his sexuality to address the prejudices he has faced all his life.
“Grime is very homophobic,” Kills, 21, with waist-length braids, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in his dressing room before a recent London show.
“In grime you don’t see people looking like me, you see a lot of kind of very hyper (masculine) men. It’s not strange to see homophobia, it’s not strange to see the gay community being shunned. It’s something that happens all the time.”
Grime, a genre of electronic dance music, came into the mainstream in Britain last year, spearheaded by stars such as Stormzy who had a number one album and was nominated the prestigious Mercury music prize in 2017.
But it has been mired in controversy from the very start.
Last November, Stormzy was forced to apologise after homophobic tweets he had written when he was younger emerged. Read more