Without getting super specific, DaBaby appeared to address the ongoing fallout from his homophobic remarks about HIV/AIDS at the Rolling Loud Miami festival in July on a new rapid-fire freestyle over WizKid and Tems’ summer hit “Essence,” released on Tuesday (Aug. 31).
“I just feel like, you know, when situations like this present themselves, man/ And people try to, you know, assassinate your character, man/ And assassinate who you are, man/ And everything you put that hard work in for, man/ Sometimes you gotta demonstrate, you know, that’s how I came here/ And I don’t mind demonstratin’,” the MC says in a spoken word interlude in the video, in which he goes shoe shopping, hangs with his daughter and flexes in front of a private jet.
In general, the freestyle — which cranks up the tempo on the more chilled-out original — focuses on DaBaby bragging about unnamed people trying to bring him down in lines such as, “Tell me how the f— it feel to follow behind a followin’-a– n—a on a computer, n—a/ All of y’all some sheep-a– n—as, these n—as gullible.”
In a press release Tuesday, GLAAD revealed that DaBaby (born Jonathan Kirk) attended a sit-down meeting with nine HIV organizations — the Black AIDS Institute, Gilead Sciences COMPASS Initiative Coordinating Centers, National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC), The Normal Anomaly Initiative, Positive Women’s Network-USA, Prevention Access Campaign (U=U), the Southern AIDS Coalition, and Transinclusive Group, as well as “a faith and HIV advisor” — to discuss the reality of living with HIV/AIDS.
The meeting was called after GLAAD and 10 other organizations penned an open letter to the rapper on Aug. 4, in which they asked DaBaby to start a dialogue with these groups in order to “address the miseducation about HIV, expressed in your comments, and the impact it has on various communities.”
According to a joint statement from the meeting attendees, DaBaby was “genuinely engaged” on the subject matter, and he “apologized for the inaccurate and hurtful comments he made about people living with HIV, and received our personal stories and the truth about HIV and its impact on Black and LGBTQ communities with deep respect.”
During his set at Rolling Loud Miami on July 25, the rapper spouted off a homophobic rant in which he made ignorant and misinformed statements about HIV and AIDS. “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. “Ladies, if your p—- smell like water, put your cellphone lighter up. Fellas, if you ain’t sucking d— in the parking lot, put your cellphone lighter up.”
Check out the “Essence” freestyle below.