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Birth nameJoseph Lee[1]
OriginLos Angeles, California, United States
GenresHip hop, homo hop
Occupation(s)Rapper, songwriter
Years active2000–present
LabelsClyde-n-Clyde, Bombastic
WebsiteOfficial Site
Official MySpace

Joseph Thomas Lee, better known by his stage name Deadlee, is an American rapper and songwriter. He is based in Los Angeles, California, is of Mexican American and African American descent,[2] and launched his career in 2000. In 2002, he released his critically acclaimed first album 7 Deadlee Sins.[3][4] The follow-up album, Assault With a Deadlee Weapon, was released in late 2006.

Deadlee is known for his lyrics, which tackle subjects such as race, class, sexuality and police brutality. On July 15, 2013, he changed his name to Joseph Thomas LeMar when he married his partner. The name is the combination of his last name and Martinez, the last name of his partner.[4]


2000–2005: 7 Deadlee Sins[edit]

Deadlee launched his career in 2000. In 2002, he released his first album 7 Deadlee Sins.[4] A blend of hip hop and thrash rock, his lyrics tackled subjects like race, class, sexuality and police brutality.[4] The album became one of the first albums produced during the underground musical movement, "homo hop", which started in the early 2000s. He performed at a variety of music festivals including the "Peace Out Festival" in Oakland, California, "Peace Out East" in New York City, and "HomoAGoGo" in Olympia, Washington.[4] The mainstream gay community did not accept his confrontational style during his first few years in the music industry. The "Long Beach Gay and Lesbian Pride Festival" grew larger and even restricted him from performing at the festival. As he became more synonymous with the growing homo hop scene, the LGBT community eventually accepted him and his music. Deadlee later performed at the "Los Angeles Latin Gay Pride Festival", the annual Christopher Street "West Los Angeles Pride" festival in West Hollywood, and the "San Francisco LGBT Pride" Main Stage two years afterwards.

2006–2012: Assault With a Deadlee Weapon[edit]

Manager Camilo Arenivar (left) and Deadlee (right) in 2007.

After being involved in several motion picture soundtracks and documentaries, Deadlee released his second album in 2004, Assault With a Deadlee Weapon. Fueled with retaliatory attacks on rap and hip-hop's alleged homophobes such as Eminem, DMX and 50 Cent, the lyrics deal with LGBT issues and hardships that are recurring. Assault With a Deadlee Weapon has heavier production and a lot of support from fellow rappers and artists such as Johnny Dangerous, Tori Fixx, Salvi-Mex, Dutchboy, Barnes, Drastiko and Clint Catalyst. The music video for his song "Good Soldier II" has been played numerous times on the MTV-owned network LOGO.[5] To support Assault With a Deadlee Weapon, Deadlee toured with a number of other LGBT rappers on the "Homo Revolution" tour, managed by Camilo Arenivar.[6]

In June 2009, Deadlee made four appearances in the prestigious Fresh Meat Festival, a trés moderne variety show spotlighting the cream of LGBT performers. He began with an angry spoken word piece written during a college tour, and moved into two classic Deadlee 2213 songs, the dance anthem "Nasty" and "Carnival in My Mind". Deadlee was acclaimed[by whom?] as both riveting and ferocious, surprising and astonishing the audience and proving himself a superb performer, able to bring the goods in any venue, gay or otherwise.

2012–Present: Turn to acting[edit]

Deadlee has made serious inroads into the movie industry as an actor, appearing in several films including the 'hood comedies, Hoochie Mamma Drama and Getting High In The Barrio. He also made an appearance as a homeless junkie in the Bruce LaBruce zombie thriller, L.A. Zombie, and as Pharmacy Punk in RAMPART. He starred in Los Angeles' longest running play Eavesdropper.

Public reception[edit]

He received considerable press coverage with articles or reviews in the now defunct QV magazine, LA Weekly, The Advocate, Frontiers magazine and URB.[4] In 2007, Deadlee was the subject of mainstream entertainment news, with publications like Rolling Stone[7] and CNN, after he announced a spring tour called "HomoRevolution Tour 2007" and attacked Eminem, DMX, and 50 Cent as "homophobic". The tour was reported in the British Guardian newspaper[8] and Deadlee appeared on The Tyra Banks Show with Tori Fixx and Foxxjazell.[9]

Despite his notoriety as a controversial gay rapper, Deadlee has also contributed music to On the Downlow, directed by Tadeo Garcia, and Vengeance, directed by Daniel Zirilli. Both movies include songs from Assault with a Deadlee Weapon.[4] Deadlee demonstrated his acting skills in Zirilli's gangbanger drama. He is member of the Screen Actors Guild. In 2006, he made film festival appearances in support of the homohop documentary, Pick Up the Mic, in which he appears.[4] He also appears on the LOGO network's documentary series, Hip Hop Homos.[4]


# Title Release date Label Format Catalog
1 7 Deadlee Sins 2002 D&D Records Compact Disc
2 Assault With a Deadlee Weapon August 15, 2006 Bombastic Records Compact Disc, digital download 100546


  1. ^ Deadlee at IMDb
  2. ^ "Blaxican Gay Rapper In Your Face Archived 2009-04-04 at the Wayback Machine", (July 13, 2006). Accessed December 28, 2014.
  3. ^ Bullock, D.W. (2017). David Bowie Made Me Gay: 100 Years of LGBT Music. Overlook Press. p. 243. ISBN 978-1-4683-1625-4. Retrieved 2019-01-15.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Assault With A Deadlee Weapon", Retrieved on 28 February 2009
  5. ^ New Now Next – Black History Month.
  6. ^ "Deadlee Keeps it Real From Hip-Hop to Hollywood – David Atlanta". Archived from the original on 2017-04-06. Retrieved 2017-04-05.
  7. ^ Gayngsta Rapper Deadlee Launches a “Homorevolution” Archived 2007-01-27 at the Wayback Machine. (January 24, 2007) Rolling Stone.
  8. ^ Lynsky, Dorian (April 23, 2007). "One rapper who could never be accused of homophobia". The Guardian. Retrieved February 28, 2009.
  9. ^ Tyra Banks at Warner Bros. – Show Recap Archived August 22, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.

External links[edit]