The Corner


Who Would’ve Thought — Hip-Hop Is Offensive

DaBaby performs during the BET Awards in Los Angeles, Calif., June 27, 2021. (Mario Anzuoni/Reuters)

The entertainment business has progressively grown more and more despicable. The music industry is probably the most egregious offender. Its treatment of the rapper Jonathan Kirk, better known by his stage name, “DaBaby,” is yet another example of how synthetic its moral grandstanding is. 

While performing at the Rolling Loud Miami music festival on July 25, Kirk sparked controversy by yelling the following vulgar remarks to his audience:

[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 a cellphone light in the air. Ladies, if your p**** smell like water, put a cellphone light in the air. Fellas, if you ain’t sucking d*** in the parking lot, put a cellphone light in the air.”

He has such a way with language.

Reasonably outraged, LGBT activists accused Kirk of being homophobic. Ever the astute navigator of controversy, Kirk initially disregarded the backlash and insulted his critics with additional expletives. He also accused the brands who cut deals with him of being racist. Kirk seems to be convinced that his comments could not have possibly been offensive to his LGBT fans, because the gay people who listen to his music are not “nasty” or “junkies.” He had a few more choice words, but I’ll leave the rest up to your imagination.

Somehow, despite Kirk’s impeccable damage control, he was pulled off the lineup for several of his upcoming performances. A series of festivals that are apparently rather important all gave him the boot, such as Lollapalooza, Governors Ball, iHeart Radio, and more. You may not know of the guy, but he is a pretty big deal in hip-hop. His song “Rockstar” spent seven weeks as the No. 1–played song in the United States, according to Billboard Hot 100. And, thanks to a Black Lives Matter edition of the song he released during last year’s unrest, it was even nominated for three Grammys, including Record of the Year.

Are we really supposed to believe that these organizers have denounced “DaBaby” out of genuine concern? He struck a female fan for getting too close to him and regularly raps about consuming drugs and killing people. He says derogatory things about everyone ranging from police to women all the time. Crime and “toxic masculinity” are his brand. The man even deleted his Instagram statement where he apologized more thoroughly. Bad for his street-cred, I presume.

Kirk has a point when he accuses the big brands of insincere advocacy. They were more than happy to stand by him when he was one of BLM’s poster boys. But now that #GeorgeFloyd is no longer trending, turning a blind eye to Kirk’s controversies is no longer fashionable.

Conservatives have been calling out hip-hop culture for promoting terrible ideals and role models for decades. But will progressives admit that? Probably not. That would require admitting that some of their primary supporters are doing something bad. Regardless, the mental gymnastics required to maintain a position of cultural relativism while criticizing DaBaby’s views on the gay community will never cease to amaze me.


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