When DaBaby slapped a female fan at one of his shows, he apologized by saying he thought she was a man. When a fan asked for a photo outside of a club in Lawrence, MA, DaBaby and his security crew beat him so bad he had to be wheeled out on a stretcher; then he left the venue with payment in hand, saying that a contract provision entitled him to that money since he felt he was "unsafe."
Other acts of aggression have trailed the emcee these last few years, all of which he's swiftly navigated with minimal impact to his career. "Bitch, you know ain't no stopping a n***a like me," he raps on the intro to 2020's Blame It On Baby.
But with the more recent headlines surrounding the emcee, it's felt like DaBaby has finally done something he can't finagle out of. His newfound friendship with Tory Lanez destroyed his relationship with Meg Thee Stallion just a month ago; and while he originally told Meg to "stand on what you stand on without feeling like I'm against you," he instead chose to rub her nose in it this past weekend at Rolling Loud Miami. Lanez guest appearance – which potentially violated Meg's restraining order she has against the rapper – happened moments after Meg's set and twisted a legitimate assault case into a shock-and-awe PR stunt (Kodak Black, who recently pleaded guilty to his own assault case involving a teen girl, also followed suit, and brought out Lanez during his set).
DaBaby "Giving What It's Supposed To Give" music video
But as disrespectful as the antic was, it was DaBaby's brief but revealing "call-to-action," as he later called it, regarding HIV and AIDS that has embroiled the rapper in his first legitimate PR nightmare. "If you didn't show up today with HIV, AIDS, any of them deadly sexually translated disease that'll make you die in two, three weeks, then put your cellphone light up," he said during his performance at Rolling Loud Miami. Activists and celebrities alike, from Dua Lipa to Demi Lovato and even Sir Elton John, have since condemned DaBaby's comments. Tory Lanez and T.I. have also seemingly made matters worse, as they came to the rapper's aid this week to claim "free speech." "When did rap get so politically correct that u can't speak your mind and have an opinion," Lanez wrote on Twitter. T.I., who himself is facing numerous allegations of drugging and raping women, shared a similar sentiment. "If you gonna have the Lil Nas X video and him living his truth, you gonna damn sure have people like DaBaby who gonna speak their truth," T.I. said on Instagram. "Ain't nothing wrong with none of it. It ain't got to be no hate. It's all honesty. Everybody living their truth."
But DaBaby is not so much living any sort of "truth" as he is perpetuating hateful and disparaging rhetoric against those he clearly deems lesser than.
Lil Nas X, with his naked music videos and Satanic pole dances, strives for equal representation in an industry that has long shuttered out LGBTQ+ representation. DaBaby, on the other hand, clearly wants the status quo to remain as it is: for homosexuals to remain ashamed of their identity, and for them to quietly suffer in the dark.
As of 2016 50% of gay Black men are at risk of contracting HIV in their lifetime, a statistic that remains driven by negative stereotypes, high incarceration rates, decreased access to healthcare, and the overwhelming social and economic factors Black people face in general in America — factors which DaBaby has clung to as a weak defense in his recent fallout. "For any brands, networks, or artists that like to profit off of black rappers influence on the culture, without understanding it or having the patience to deal with what comes with the position we play in our culture," DaBaby tweeted in closing. "Keep yo money next time. Us "N****S" is human too."
But the worst part is that it doesn't seem DaBaby really gives a fuck either way. Today, he dropped his new music video for "Giving What It's Supposed to Give," which he claimed was filmed a day before his disparaging rant and which he used to stand by his comments.
To think that this weekend was all part of one big track rollout is nauseating. To think that homophobia and hate speech was used as a marketing tool is gut-wrenching. To think that DaBaby doesn't care either way is just plain disturbing.
But the question remains: How long will we continue to listen? If these are the methods DaBaby will come to rely on in order to promote his work, how far will we allow these depraved actions to go before we stop looking? Shown by the career trajectory of Lanez, T.I., Chris Brown, Kodak, and the like, have we as a culture already allowed Blacklisting to become a notable piece of marketing? Have we allowed violence against women to be used as a PR tool? If that's the road we're heading down, it might be an impossible road to come back from.