Music Festivals

DaBaby's Set at Rolling Loud Was Indicative of Rap's Problem with Women and Queer People

DaBaby is under fire for stigmatizing HIV/AIDS as well as homophobic and misogynistic comments during his set.
DaBaby is under fire for stigmatizing HIV/AIDS as well as homophobic and misogynistic comments during his set. Photo by Michele Eve Sandberg
Homophobia and misogyny were on full display during DaBaby's set at Rolling Loud this past Sunday. Following Megan Thee Stallion's electric performance on the Ciroc Stage, DaBaby apparently felt the need to say this:

"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."
It didn't stop with misinformation about living with HIV or AIDS.

“Ladies, if your pussy smell like water, put your cellphone lighter up," the rapper told the crowd. "Fellas, if you ain’t sucking dick in the parking lot, put your cellphone lighter up.”

In case any non-misogynists in the crowd had failed to pick up on the vibe, DaBaby invited Tory Lanez on stage.


That would be the guy Megan Thee Stallion accused last year of shooting her in the foot.

DaBaby and Megan had previously collaborated on several songs, including the smash hits "Cash Shit" and "Cry Baby." One sign that their relationship had gone south came last month, when DaBaby retweeted a post mocking the aforementioned shooting incident.

When he proceeded to perform two of his collaborations with Megan at Rolling Loud, the reaction from the crowd was mixed. But those weighing in on social media made their feelings crystal clear.
The historically male-dominated rap scene has never been a welcoming place for women or LGBTQ+ people. But female rappers have been killing it in recent years and made significant strides toward balance in the Rolling Loud lineup even as they continue to invade Billboard's Hot 100 chart. This year has also seen one of the first openly gay hip-hop artists, Lil Nas X, rise to the mainstream.

After DaBaby's comments and the Lanez cameo, someone from the audience threw a shoe at him, aiming for his head — a response many on social media thought was warranted.
Fans also took to Twitter to call on Dua Lipa to remove the DaBaby remix of "Levitating" from streaming services.

The larger message appears to be that although female rappers are on the rise, slow strides toward equal representation don't mean the rap scene has rid itself of its larger issues.

The past weekend's events might herald a shift in rap fans' tendency to blindly support artists regardless of their actions — but only time will tell.
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Alan Halaly is a former intern at Miami New Times and a rising journalism sophomore at the University of Florida. In the past, he covered historically Black neighborhoods and city and county affairs for the Independent Florida Alligator, one of the largest student-run newspapers in the country.
Contact: Alan Halaly