We are certainly living in some weird times, and oftentimes, hip-hop is part of the strange happenings. Rappers getting caught up in some tone-deaf moments, both on and off social media, adds to several outlandish, attention-grabbing headlines and overall head-scratching moments once their words sink in.
Kodak Black felt the swift backlash on the internet when he decided to speak on Lauren London’s relationship status following Nipsey Hussle’s murder in 2019. The South Florida rapper was trying to shoot his shot at Lauren and he was met with criticism from T.I. and fans alike.
He isn’t the only rapper who has made insensitive gaffes. Back in November of 2016, Lil Wayne angered fans when he denounced Black Lives Matter in an interview with ABC’s Nightline. When journalist Lindsey Davis asked Weezy about BLM, he told her he doesn’t feel connected to it.
Then there’s Azealia Banks, who’s widely known to grab headlines for some of the wild, tone-deaf remarks she’s made throughout her career. In 2016, she used a homophobic slur to describe famed blogger Perez Hilton. The LGBTQ wasn’t feeling her to say the least.
Along with these, there are other tone-deaf hip-hop moments that prove rappers can get hit with serious backlash. Check out of some incidents below where a rapper’s tone-deaf comment made you say, “what the fuck?!”
These Tone-Deaf Hip-Hop Moments Prove Rappers Can Get Hit With Serious Backlash
The hip-hop world was in deep mourning after the death of Nipsey Hussle on March 31, 2019. But Kodak Black seemed oblivious to it when he went on Instagram Live in April of 2019. While chatting with his fans several weeks after Nipsey’s murder, Kodak revealed his crush for the late rapper’s widow, Lauren London.
“She about to be out here single. I’ll be the best man I can be for her,” Kodak said while Hussle’s music played in the background. “I’ll give her a whole year. She might need a whole year to be crying and shit for [Nipsey].”
Fans and friends of Nipsey and Lauren, like T.I., weren’t too happy with Kodak’s tone-deaf flirtations. Power 106 FM in Los Angeles even banned Kodak’s music from their playlists. Initially, the Florida rapper refused to apologize, but he later backpedaled on his comments. “If I disrespected you, Lauren London, in any shape or form, I’m sorry, even though I didn’t,” he said.
Azealia Banks is the queen of having bizarre moments on social media. One of her many vulgar incidents came in February of 2016, when she got into a sparring match on Twitter with popular gossip blogger Perez Hilton and called him a “messy f***ot.”
The backlash was swift with many people calling Banks a homophobe and demanding that she apologize to the LGBTQ community. In response, Banks was tone-deaf in her explanation of using the gay slur. “A faggot is not a homosexual male. A faggot is any male who acts like a female. There’s a BIG difference,” she wrote in a since-deleted tweet.
Banks would later backpedal on her response. In an interview with The Guardian, she said that she doesn’t regret using the word to describe Hilton, but she won’t do it again. “Listen, I didn’t say all gay men are f***ots; I said Perez Hilton is a f***ot, so don’t try and bring the rest of the gays down with your f***otry,” she explained.
Chance The Rapper
In September of 2020, before the November election between then-incumbent Joe Biden and President Donald Trump, Chance The Rapper hopped on his Twitter account to encourage people to vote. However, the Chicago rapper’s suggestion left people scratching their heads. “Ask your mom who to vote for. Vote for who she say,” he tweeted to his followers.
Innocent as his tone-deaf tweet may be, it prompted a response he probably wasn’t expecting. He received backlash on Twitter, with many people advising folks to ignore Chance’s instruction. Critics encouraged the rapper’s fans to do some research on the two candidates instead of asking their mothers.
Last year, Kanye West had so many bizarre moments on social media that it was hard to keep count. In June of 2020, while many people were struggling financially during the coronavirus pandemic, ‘Ye jumped on Twitter to celebrate his wife, Kim Kardashian, reaching billionaire status. “I am so proud of my beautiful wife Kim Kardashian West for officially becoming a billionaire,” he tweeted. In response, several fans reminded Kanye that his tweet is insensitive to people who are hurting financially during the pandemic.
If that tone-deaf tweet wasn’t enough, in October of that year, Kanye complained about his sudden low follower count on Twitter. “I was at 31 million followers 4 weeks ago and now I’ve been held at 30.9 million followers for the last 4 weeks,” he wrote, adding several thinking face emojis.
Fans had several reactions to his tweet. Some empathized with ‘Ye and accused Twitter of censoring him because he’s a Trump supporter. Other people felt that Kanye should focus on his mental health and log off the platform. “Get the help you need, Twitter does equate self-worth,” tweeted one user.
DaBaby likes to get personal with his fans on his Twitter account, but sometimes the 2019 XXL Freshman gets a little too personal on his timeline. Back in August of 2020, DaBaby revealed how long he poops in the bathroom to his followers. “Ion trust people who can shit in 5 minutes & pop out the bathroom like that ain’t just happen,” he wrote adding a laughing emoji. “Y’all Mfs ain’t living right I need a hour minimum & a shower when I get up.” Toilet etiquette aside, the North Carolina rapper’s remarks left fans questioning his digestive health. “Dude you need more fiber, vegetables and water. AN HOUR?!” wrote one person. Another user wasn’t so amused by DaBaby’s tweet. “I’m blocking you don’t nobody want to talk about you shitting.”
Back in November of 2016, Lil Wayne felt the ire of woke Twitter when he denounced Black Lives Matter in an interview. In a sit-down interview with ABC’s Nightline, Weezy told Lindsey Davis that he doesn’t feel connected to the Black Lives Matter movement. “That just sounds weird, I don’t know, that you put a name on it,” he said. “It’s not a name, it’s not ‘whatever, whatever,’ it’s somebody got shot by a policeman for a fucked up reason.”
Then Weezy scoffed at Davis’ question and added that his life matters because he’s a big-time rap star. “I don’t know what you mean, man, don’t come at me with that dumb-ass shit, ma’am,” he said. “My life matter— specially to my bitches.”
The reactions to Wayne’s tone-deaf remarks were brutal. So much so, that the Grammy Award-winning rapper apologized and said that he got irate after the interviewer asked questions about his daughter. “Apologies to anyone who was offended,” he said.
Seven years ago, Rick Ross found himself drowning in controversy for his verse on Rocko’s 2013 track “U.O.E.N.O.” In March of 2013, Rozay was slammed for rapping date-rape-centered lyrics on the song. “Put molly all in her champagne/She ain’t even know it/I took her home and I enjoyed that/She ain’t even know it,” Ross rapped.
Of course, the line sparked outrage from women’s groups who felt that Ross was promoting rape. Initially, the Miami rhymer was tone-deaf in his response to the outcry, telling a New Orleans radio station that the backlash was because of a “misunderstanding.” However, after Reebok dropped him from their endorsement deal, he realized the error of his ways.
“Before I am an artist, I am a father, a son and a brother to some of the most cherished women in the world,” he said in a statement. “So for me to suggest in any way that harm and violation be brought to a woman is one of my biggest mistakes and regrets.”
Ross closed his statement with his apology. “To every woman that has felt the sting of abuse, I apologize,” he said. “To the young men who listen to my music, please know that using a substance to rob a woman of her right to make a choice is not only a crime, it’s wrong and I do not encourage it.”
In September of 2015, A$AP Rocky made a controversial comment in a Time Out magazine interview that continues to haunt him.
During the conversation, the Harlem rapper was asked about his thoughts regarding the 2014 shooting of Michael Brown in the St. Louis town of Ferguson, Mo. Rocky said that he didn’t sign up to “be no political activist” and didn’t want to talk about it because he couldn’t relate.
In July of 2016, Rocky’s tone-deaf comment resurfaced again on Twitter, which sparked a dragging from people on his timeline. He scoffed at the backlash and responded, in all caps, “ALL THIS SOCIAL INJUSTICE MAKES ME FUKIN SICK, THO IM STILL NO POLITICIAN,” he wrote.
Fast-forward four years later. In January of 2020, Rocky was once again asked about his controversial 2015 remark. Following his release from jail in Sweden, where he spent a month in jail for assault, he explained to YouTube personality Kerwin Frost that he wasn’t comfortable speaking on social justice issues when he made those remarks in 2015. “I just feel, personally, if I’m in SoHo [New York] or I’m here [Harlem] I can’t even talk on that. That’s, like, appropriating… it’s not sincere. It’s pretentious,” he said.
The Game’s street credibility came into question in July of 2016, when he teamed up with then-Los Angeles Chief of Police Charlie Beck for a stop the violence public service announcement. In the 45-second video of the moment, the Compton, Calif. rhymer is standing behind a dark backdrop and pleads to viewers to stop the violence and embrace unity. “Let’s unite. Stop the violence. Be the change,” Game said.
While The Game and Beck’s intention of bringing peace to the L.A. streets seemed honorable, the PSA was met with discontent from people who felt the video was offensively tone-deaf. Some folks wondered how can Beck call for peace when LAPD have been involved in past violence against unarmed Black people. Other critics questioned The Game teaming up with Beck knowing the LAPD’s controversial history when it comes to policing in Black neighborhoods.
For his part, The Game never responded to the criticism, but he instead launched various initiatives related to ending street violence in Los Angeles.
Danileigh experienced the wrath of the internet last month when she posted a snippet of her new song “Yellow Bone” on Jan. 21 In the Instagram post of the song, she wrote the caption ” as well. YELLOW BONE THATS WHAT HE WANT.” “Yellow bone” is a phrase that describes a light-skinned Black woman, which Danileigh is not—she is Dominican—so criticism to her social media post immediately followed because people felt she was supporting colorism. In these times especially, the song is considered tone-deaf for not being inclusive. However, her current boyfriend, DaBaby, did seem to like the track since he commented with yellow emojis.
Once the Def Jam signee caught wind of the backlash to her song and its lyrics, she responded with the Instagram comment, “Why I can’t make a song for my light skin baddies??” Why y’all think I’m hating on other colors when there are millions of songs speaking on all types.. why y’all so sensitive & take it personal .. gahhhh damn.” The song was deleted from her social media platforms, but she continued to face the criticism head on via Twitter with several more tweets that have since-been deleted. “Y’all NOT FOR ME,” she continued. “And I said is what he want !!!! Not what the world want … I’m talking bout myself … stop playing w me,” she wrote.
Three days after the controversy began and she became a trending topic for colorist accusations against her, Danileigh issued a video apology on Jan. 24. She attempted to defend herself by explaining her intentions. “I think it’s super important ’cause I definitely feel super misunderstood,” she said. “I think people twisted it like I was trying to bash another woman and her skin tone. I never looked at my skin as a privilege. I see brown skin women flaunt their skin in music all the time. Why can’t I flaunt mine? I’m sorry I wasn’t sensitive to the topic, when I wrote my comment.”
“It can be a personal thing to certain people ’cause colorism is a real thing. But I’m not that. I’m not a colorist or a racist. I date a whole chocolate man. I have chocolate friends. Skin is not something I even see. Because you don’t know me it’s like let me tell you guys what I meant by that. Hopefully you guys can watch it with an open heart and genuine mind. I’m sorry, again. I offended people who are truly offended. I am sorry.”
Her apology was met with further criticism since her “chocolate man” remark used to describe DaBaby didn’t sit well with some people.