A$AP Ferg Schools DaBaby on ‘Super Ignorant’ Homophobic Rant

Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP
Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP
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A$AP Ferg has kept himself busy. Over the past year, the rapper released his album Floor Seats II, designed handmade silk and wool rugs for his lifestyle brand launch, already has new music in the works, and most recently, directed and produced the mini-documentary A Snapple Corner Story about New York City bodegas in an effort to give back to local shops impacted by COVID-19.

Most of this burst of creativity took place while Ferg recharged his batteries and spent some much-needed downtime with family members while laying low in New Jersey during the pandemic. But now, the Harlem-born artist is eager to get back out and perform in front of a live, hyped-up audience versus just virtual concerts and listening sessions.

“Your socks don’t get dirty from just sliding across the floor, you got to go outside and turn up in them dirty Vans,” he tells The Daily Beast, laughing.

Ferg, born Darold Durard Brown Ferguson Jr., will get just that chance next month in Philadelphia at Jay-Z’s Made in America festival, already coming off an adrenaline rush after appearing alongside fellow A$AP Mob member A$AP Rocky at Rolling Loud in Miami in late July.

“That was super amazing, that energy was overwhelming,” he grins, adding that fans can expect to hear tracks from Floor Seats I and Floor Seats II. “I can’t wait to do an hour-long set, get sweaty, have everybody mosh pit and turning up to the music.”

It’s unfortunate that the buzz and excitement that fed into Rolling Loud, which helped kick off the late summer festival season, was quickly derailed by DaBaby, who went on a homophobic rant during his set. The Charlotte, North Carolina, rapper made offensive remarks about people with HIV/AIDs and derogatory comments about the LGBTQ+ community. His comments quickly went viral.

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Despite his team reportedly promising other festival promoters that DaBaby would create an apology video that he’d play before his set at Lollapalooza last weekend, the video never materialized, and as a result, DaBaby has been yanked from an ever-growing list of festivals.

While some musicians admonished DaBaby, including Elton John, Madonna, Questlove, and Dua Lipa, whom the rapper collaborated with on a remix of “Levitating,” his fellow rappers have stayed mostly quiet. It’s not surprising, considering the hip-hop industry’s bleak history of homophobia, something Lil Nas X cited when he came out as gay in the wake of his breakout song “Old Town Road” in 2019.

But when Ferg is asked about his thoughts on the DaBaby controversy, he doesn’t hesitate. “I feel like it was super insensitive,” he says, adding the comments came across as “super ignorant on his behalf.”

“I love everybody. I love gay people, straight people,” he says. “I have a lot of gay friends. I know a lot of designers. I know normal people that are gay—they’re normal people. They should be definitely treated with respect. You just got to treat people [like] respectable human beings, man.”

“Coming from the hood, there’s a lot of ignorant people,” Ferg adds. He points out that artists who come from these types of backgrounds can sometimes be conditioned to have harmful and offensive views and with one hit song, they become superstars and thrust into the public eye.

“You can make a million dollars tomorrow, just because you got a great song—you literally came from the hood, you’re gonna do some ignorant shit,” Ferg says. “We weren’t taught to be politically correct a lot of the times.”

“The hood is very boxed-in, it’s a small community,” he adds. “A lot of people don’t know their power, you go on this big stage and you’re speaking to millions and zillions of people, making all of this money—that doesn’t change who you are mentally.”

Acknowledging the apology DaBaby put out on Monday, hours after New York City’s Governors Ball dropped him from its September lineup, Ferg thinks DaBaby “got it right.”

“You know, [he’s] gonna get the backlash because he killed himself,” he says. But if DaBaby takes the time to reflect and learn, Ferg believes he should be given another chance.

“Sometimes you gotta bump your head real hard to know,” Ferg adds. “I feel like this is a very humbling time for him.”

With the music festival season in full swing, it still comes as a shock that organizers can pull off a feat that didn’t seem possible just last year, as COVID-19 not only brought the live music industry to a halt but claimed the lives of more than 600,000 Americans.

The virus especially rocked New York City, and during the peak of the pandemic last spring, Ferg returned to his old neighborhood to help, donating hundreds of meals to medical workers, and making a monetary donation to his favorite restaurant Melba’s so the business could hire back furloughed employees. Ferg also put in work on the ground, personally handing out meals to those in need.

“I felt like that was something that I had to do at the time,” Ferg says, mentioning that during those early days, he had several family members get sick, so he wanted to help raise initial awareness of the virus’ severity. “I wanted to let them know I care about them, and I really appreciate what they were doing.”

And now, even as the country begins to see the light at the end of the tunnel thanks to the vaccine rollout, Ferg isn’t done helping, this time focusing on New York City bodegas and corner stores that became the backbone of their communities during those uncertain early days.

It was the mom-and-pop shops that kept their lights on when many others shuttered, becoming some of the few places to secure Clorox wipes and toilet paper. And as people lost their jobs, these bodegas offered credit to patrons who might not be able to otherwise afford food or essential items.

Ferg’s mini documentary A Snapple Corner Story, which he produced and co-directed alongside Shomi Patwary, features these bodegas and small shops, and highlights how they serve as a cornerstone in their communities. As part of the collaboration with Snapple, Ferg creative-directed and designed a line of special merchandise, with all the proceeds going to the Bodega and Small Business Association.

The project hits close to home for Ferg, who says his local bodega growing up oftentimes helped someone who was a few bucks short. “I remember when I was a kid not being able to afford a juice or a sandwich,” Ferg says. “I’d be so hungry, but only have $1.50.”

“It was like, I don’t want a butter roll, I want a whole sandwich, like turkey and cheese. They gave me credit. I’d come back later on and give them the change. They don’t do that at supermarkets or these big corporations. Bodegas are super significant and helpful to the community, so we got to show them love and keep them alive.”

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