Music with a purpose — sometimes it’s a bit too preachy to get the message across, and other times it just … works. That latter camp now includes “Let’s Talk About PrEP,” an updated take on Salt-N-Pepa’s iconic “Let’s Talk About Sex” just released by Chicago-based rapper KC Ortiz. As its title suggests, the track is aimed at sparking a conversation around — and continuing to raise the visibility of — PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis), the once-a-day HIV prevention pill.
It’s a song that naturally has sexual awareness and education in its legacy, as the original 1991 recording rode the tailwinds of the 1980s’ HIV epidemic. Two years after the track’s initial release by the female threesome, Salt-N-Pepa re-released it as “Let’s Talk About AIDS.”
In addition to Ortiz killing it on the track, she’s joined by “the ultimate big boy of rap” Big Dipper, who also chimes in about the importance of knowing all the tools in the ‘HIV prevention toolbox.’ Together Ortiz and Big Dipper have crafted ‘music with a message’ without losing their audience to stale pedagogy. The track is fun, pertinent and hopefully leads at least a few listeners to educate themselves on the benefits of PrEP.
The video also features a cast of local queer Chicago tastemakers, including beloved local queen Lucy Stoole, DJs [X]P and All the Way Kay and comic Tien Tran.
“This song is about conversation. We need to talk about PrEP and HIV in our community,” says KC Ortiz. “When we talk to our partners and our loved ones about sexual health, we are eliminating stigma. Let’s talk about sex. Let’s talk about HIV. Let’s talk about PrEP.”
The song and video was created in conjunction with Howard Brown Health, the largest LGBTQ organization in the Midwest. Howard Brown Health provides health care, social services and screenings to tens of thousands of people each year via its 10 clinics in the Chicago metro area.