DaBaby was once considered one of the most popular artists in rap music with chart-topping hits and multiple Grammy nominations, but it seems the sentiment may be changing.
After unsuccessfully trying to entice fans to purchase tickets to an upcoming concert, some wonder if his not-so-popular antics, like making homophobic and sexist comments, have begun to affect his career.
Social media weighs in
The 30-year-old Charlotte rapper was teased on Twitter about offering a two-for-one ticket offer to a show in Birmingham, Alabama. The offer came just two-months after another show of his was allegedly canceled in New Orleans because of low ticket sales, a report Da Baby’s team denies, claiming the promoter failed to fulfill their obligations.
The rapper’s latest album, “Baby on Baby 2,” has also gotten little attention compared to previous projects. With about 17,000 units sold in its first week, it showed a significant — 86 percent — from the first week sales of his previous albums, according to XXLmag.com.
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“DaBaby selling his tickets BOGO has got to be the saddest [expletive] ever for a rapper. And it’s crazy cause nobody else hurt his career more than he did,” another person tweeted. “Talk about self sabotage, a lack of situational awareness, and ego.”
Many have attributed his recent decline in sales to his music — critics have said many of his songs sound alike — while others blame a string of controversial behavior, most notably his homophobic remarks at a Rolling Loud show last year.
Rise to fame
Jonathan “DaBaby” Kirk, moved to Charlotte from Cleveland as a child. The rapper graduated from Vance High School (now Julius L. Chambers High School) in 2010 and briefly attended the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
His rap career began in 2014 when he released a number of mixtapes. In 2019, he saw mainstream success after signing with Interscope Records.
That same year, DaBaby released his debut studio album “Baby on Baby” which peaked at number seven on the Billboard 200. The song “Suge,” along with its comedic music video, became a viral hit and reached number seven on the hit singles chart.
He has released two No. 1 charted albums, 2019’s “Kirk” and “Blame It On Baby” in 2020. Both sold over 120,000 units in the first week. His song, “Rockstar” from “Blame It On Baby” became his first No.1 charted song. It topped the chart for seven non-consecutive weeks.
A number of his songs reached the Billboard charts, leading to many sold out concerts and DaBaby as headliner at major festivals, like Rolling Loud, and awards shows like the BET Awards and the Grammy Awards.
Since 2020, he has earned eight grammy nominations.
Last year, he sparked outrage when he made a series of sexist and homophobic remarks during his Rolling Loud Miami set.
“If you didn’t show up today with HIV, AIDS, or any of them deadly sexually transmitted diseases that’ll make you die in two to three weeks, then put your cellphone lighter up,” he told attendees during his performance.
“Ladies, if your [expletive for female genitalia] smell like water, put your cellphone lighter up. Fellas, if you ain’t sucking [expletive for male genitalia] in the parking lot, put your cellphone lighter up.”
DaBaby’s comments were met with backlash from fans, fellow artists, and activists who accused him of bigotry and spreading dangerous misinformation about HIV/AIDS.
Adding to the controversy, DaBaby also brought out rapper Tory Lanez for a surprise performance. At the time, Lanez was awaiting trial for allegedly shooting female rapper Megan Thee Stallion and has received widespread backlash for the alleged incident.
On July 26, the day after the Rolling Loud performance, DaBaby attempted to defend his comments.
“I tell fans to put a cellphone light in the air y’all start a million man march,” the first of a series of tweets said.
DaBaby later issued a public apology to the LGBTQ community, but now, more than a year later, the backlash still seems to linger.
Trouble with the law
DaBaby’s rap sheet hasn’t endeared him to fans either. In January 2020, he was arrested for allegedly robbing and assaulting a concert promoter for shortchanging his pay.
That March, a video surfaced of what looks like him smacking a woman in the face for attempting to film him at a club. Later that year, he was arrested and accused of punching a Miami club promoter in the face.
In February 2022, another video surfaced appearing to be Da Baby throwing a punch at Brandon “Bills” Curiel at a Los Angeles bowling alley. Curiel is the brother of his former girlfriend with whom Da Baby shares a child, musician DaniLeigh. The incident happened months after Da Baby and DaniLeigh engaged in a hours-long verbal altercation shown on Instagram Live.
Most recently, the rapper was involved in a non-fatal shooting on April 13 outside his home in Troutman, N.C., a town in Iredell County. While DaBaby was not charged with anything in relation to the shooting at his home, it did prompt some online users to discuss another shooting, in 2017, that he was involved in.
Early this year, video footage from a fatal 2017 shooting at a Huntersville Walmart was released by the Mecklenburg County DA’s office. No charges were filed.
Beyond fan backlash
It appears the controversy could be affecting DaBaby’s booking opportunities. Following his comments at Rolling Loud, some radio stations even removed his songs from airplay. Not long after, deals with boohooMan, Lollapalooza, and Burger King ended.
In September, he implied that his lack of album sales were because he is being “blackballed” by the music industry.
“No bad for da BlackBalled Baby,” the rapper wrote on his Instagram story.
Other notable figures in hip-hop came to the defense of DaBaby and agreed with his claim of being blackballed, or shunned, by the industry including Meek Mill, Boosie BadAzz and DJ Akademiks.
Responding with humor
DaBaby posted a video on Instagram in attempts to address social media opinions.
In the 30-second clip, the rapper is seen on the ground, moaning in pain.
The person recording the video asks, “what happened to your leg?”
“I was at the top but then I fell off,” DaBaby responds, laughing.
“I FELL OFF🙋🏾♂️😂 But nah fr man GOD IS GREAT,” the video’s caption read. “I ran this [expletive] up from NOTHING & still stand firm on morals & principles. I’m BLESSED. & Filled with gratitude no matter what.”
On Nov.18, he addressed online critics again on Instagram by posting a video of himself performing onstage at an Atlanta show. In the video many fans can be heard singing along to his song, “Masterpiece.”
“Whoever paying them blogs to post dat [expletive] need get they money back.😂,” he captioned. “It ain’t working [expletive] 😂.”