In an Instagram live (portions of which he later uploaded to IGTV), T.I. said that DaBaby has a right to express his opinion, comparing his ignorant rant to Lil Nas X’s explicit new “Industry Baby” video. “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,” he said. “Ain’t nothing wrong with none of it, it ain’t got to be no hate — it’s all honesty. Everybody living in their truth.”
During his set at the festival, DaBaby took a bizarre turn to rant about HIV/AIDS and the LGBTQ community. “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 said during his set. “Ladies, if your p—y smell like water, put your cellphone lighter up. Fellas, if you ain’t sucking d— in the parking lot, put your cell phone lighter up. Let’s keep it real.”
Fans quickly condemned the rapper’s comments online, calling him out for spreading wrong and hurtful information about HIV and AIDS, and for offending members of the queer community. “dababy being homophobic talking about spreading HIV/AIDS while performing in front of a crowd of 1000s of ppl in a global pandemic is a juicy contradiction,” one fan wrote.
T.I. also posted a comment on Instagram earlier in the day, where he once again compared DaBaby’s rant to Lil Nas X’s music videos. “If Lil Nas X can kick his s–t in peace… so should DaBaby,” he wrote, adding a shrugging emoji and “#equality.”
In his live video, T.I. expressed his respect for Lil Nas X and other openly queer artists like Frank Ocean, saying he was glad to see both of them being their most genuine selves in public. “I got a lot of respect for motherf—–s like Lil Nas X, and for motherf—–s like Frank Ocean, who step out there and live their truth. [They’re] honest with themselves,” he said. “A lot of you motherf—–s out there hiding your truth.”
He went on to add that he respects Lil Nas X’s willingness to push boundaries, although he doesn’t agree with much of it. “The Lil Nas X s–t — the performances, the videos — I got a lot of respect for bro, because, like I said, he had the courage to live his truth, but that s–t ain’t for me. I can’t look at it, it ain’t for me,” he said, adding that he also wouldn’t let his children watch Lil Nas X’s videos. “Their minds haven’t developed to the place where they can wrap their minds around those type of experiences, and those type of visual presentations.”
T.I. has been mired in his own controversy, as he and wife Tiny continue to deny allegations of sexual assault brought by multiple women, who accused the pair of drugging and assaulting them. T.I. went on to address the allegations in a song, titled “What It’s Come To,” where he rapped “N—a f— that, ‘He say, she say’/ If the receipts say that shit ain’t factual.”
Billboard has reached out to DaBaby’s team and to GLAAD for statements regarding the onstage rant. Watch T.I.’s full video below: