RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas (KVEO) — DaBaby brought his explosive show to Hidalgo’s Payne Arena as he entertained the crowd with some of his biggest hits while mired in controversy over homophobic comments he made days ago.
The multi-platinum selling artist arrived in the RGV on Friday as part of an international tour taking him across America and a few dates in England.
Fans of all ages turned up to see the rapper put on a bombastic performance which started at 12:30 a.m. Saturday.
The crowd went into a frenzy when the rapper hit the stage and opened with “Suge,” his biggest hit off 2019’s Baby on Baby.
Following that, DaBaby performed songs off of both of his chart-topping albums Kirk (2019) and Blame it on Baby (2020).
Some of the most anticipated songs from the set included “Rockstar,” “Bop,” and “Vibez.”
The theatrics of the event were tuned down a bit for the Hidalgo show. DaBaby concerts in the past have included dancers dressed in inflatable baby costumes, a morphing stage taking on a church and nightclub display, and an array of other things.
Despite this, the crowd was glued to every word and movement DaBaby made as he got up close with the audience throughout the show, which climaxed when he brought a fan on stage with him during “Today – Intro.”
The show even featured a wardrobe change as DaBaby removed his white sweatshirt shortly before performing “Blind,” leaving him with just a pair of grey sweatpants, a backward-worn plaid cap, and an enormous “Billion Dollar Baby” chain.
Overall, DaBaby left the Hidalgo crowd ecstatic and entertained for his entire show at yet another remarkable concert at the Payne Arena.
Hours before DaBaby took center stage, several opening acts pumped up the crowd, including one artist from the RGV.
Bakri 11 impressed the Hidalgo crowd with his party-filled, energy-driven beats as one of the opening acts on the night.
The Brownsville native expressed adoration for his supporters who have gotten him to the point where he can open for a giant act like DaBaby.
“It felt natural to me. My nerves kicked in before my set but that feeling and rush is like no other,” said Joseph Bakri, who performs as Bakri 11. “This is the beginning of my career and I can see myself playing arenas all over.”
DaBaby’s performance was overshadowed by controversy surrounding comments he made just days ago at the Rolling Loud Festival in Miami.
During his performance at the festival, DaBaby began shouting random statements to the crowd in an effort to hype up the 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 your cell phone light up,” said DaBaby during the show.
He later continued asking men who did not perform oral sex on other men to raise their cell phones up to illuminate the venue.
DaBaby received backlash across the music industry following these comments condemning them as homophobic and uninformed. Multiple musicians, including some DaBaby, has performed with, voiced their dismay on social media about DaBaby’s comments.
Dua Lipa, who recorded the billion-plus streamed song “Levitating” with DaBaby, stated she was “surprised and horrified” by his comments.
Openly gay music icon Elton John shared a series of tweets disseminating information on HIV and stated he was shocked to hear DaBaby’s comments on the matter.
“This fuels stigma and discrimination and is the opposite of what our world needs to fight the AIDS epidemic,” wrote John in the Tweet.
Other celebrities, including Madonna, Demi Lovato, and Candiace also took to Twitter to voice displeasure at DaBaby.
In response, DaBaby filmed several Instagram live videos detailing the incident and defended his performance.
“What I do at a live show is for the audience at the live show,” said DaBaby. “It’ll never translate correctly to somebody looking at a little five, six-second clip from their godd*** crib on their phone. It just don’t work like that.”
In the same video, DaBaby stated he was not directing the oral sex remark at his gay fans.
“My gay fans, they take care of theyself, they ain’t going for that… they ain’t no junkies. I said if you ain’t sucking **** in the parking lot, put your cellphone light up,” said DaBaby. “You know what my gay fans did? Put that m************ light up.”
He later apologized on Twitter to those with HIV/AIDS stating, “y’all got the right to be upset, what I said was insensitive even though I have no intentions on offending anybody.”
Regardless of these apologies from DaBaby, not many in the industry have come to his defense, and a clothing brand, boohooMan, even dropped him as a sponsor.
He’s also been dropped from two festival dates he was scheduled to perform at, Lollapalooza and Manchester, England’s Parklife Festival.
The future regarding DaBaby’s controversy is uncertain right now, but his tour is still planned to continue throughout 2021.
The Rio Grande Valley is full of musical talent that deserves exposure. If you know a musician or band who should be featured on RGV Sounds, email KVEO-DigitalDesk@nexstar.tv.