If you’ve been a “content creator” online for any amount of time, you inevitably run into the scenario where everybody is talking about something to the point you feel awkward not talking about it too. It forces you into a binary box where your only choices are to either talk about it and feel like you’re ambulance chasing a viral trend, or ignore it altogether and appear to be out of touch with the rest of the world. It takes a moment to realize you can step outside of the box. Just because a whole lot of people are discussing something on the internet doesn’t necessarily reflect its importance offline. There’s a better than 50/50 chance that outside of social media nobody knows who is being talked about or why it matters.

For a few weeks now I’ve been trapped in the box with DDG. Before his rap career ever took off his content creator career did, and that created the dilemma around reviewing “Maybe It’s Me…” on RR. The lead single “Famous” doesn’t pretend he didn’t have a “platform” before rapping, so nobody else can either. The controversy about DDG is that the way he’s using his platform — millions of followers across multiple outlets — is that he openly brags about “abusing it” in the lyrics of his song. “Hardest thing I did was fall in love with a famous bitch.” Excuse me sir, could you repeat that? Every word of the song manifests DDG’s insecurity about his relationship with Halle Bailey, but does so in a way so ugly it can only be intentional. His perspective is that of an abusive, psychologically manipulative, vindictive, jealous boyfriend who can’t stand to see his actress girlfriend kissing other dudes in movies. It’s very hard to listen to.

When I say it’s “intentional” I need to be perfectly clear about it. DDG could have not put his insecurity on display in such a public way. Even if he needed to get it off his chest, he didn’t need to make it the lead single of his album. Even if he needed to make it the lead single, he didn’t need to film a music video that would be seen by his millions of followers. Do you see what I’m getting at? “Famous” is a choice. There’s another binary choice staring me in the face right now. Either DDG did this to push buttons and get people talking about his rap career (which worked) or he’s absolutely not someone to get into an intimate relationship with whether they’re “Famous” or not. Based on at least one interview after the controversy blew up it appears to be the former.

“I want y’all to know, listen, Famous is just a song, okay? It’s just music y’all. Just how movies is just movies, songs is just songs. Y’all gotta relax and worry about y’all own stuff, and it’s all entertainment. It’s the entertainment business. Relax, calm down, chill out.”

I’m still not comfortable with what he said or how he said it on “Famous,” but “Hard On Myself” gives some credence to his narrative. Although it seems to be slyly referencing the issue, that has to be an incredible coincidence given the album came out last month and both songs were on it. The fact the official video came out less than a week ago will only fuel further speculation. Let’s just let DDG’s words speak for themselves.

“Oh, I forgot, I’m famous, can’t respond to the hate
I’m around the heavy-hitters and I’m holdin my weight
Industry parties with billionaires, surrounded by greats
That shit make me less excited about the M’s in my bank
Doin videos on the ‘net, but I’d rather just rap
One day, I’ma take that leap of faith and just focus on that”

For me this gave “Maybe It’s Me…” some much needed perspective. There are plenty of rappers I respect who have said things on record I didn’t agree with. BDP’s “We In There” saw KRS-One spew a vitriolic level of gay bashing few emcees have achieved before or since. EPMD’s “Jane 3” was an entirely unsubtle transphobic rant, complete with Parrish Smith’s ugly declaration that he “took off that mustache, grabbed that ass, and I fucked her” at its conclusion. Sometimes art should make us uncomfortable. “Famous” gives me the same queasy feelings, but songs like “This Summer” don’t. In fact the strongest rebuke I can give DDG on this track, or many others on his album, is that he often sounds like Drake. Since he references him in his rap he’s aware of it too.

If you were to buy DDG’s album now or in the future, you could simply opt out of one controversial song and listen to the 11 others on it. It would be fair to point out that at only a half hour and change long, it’s a far bigger slice of the pie than it would be on a longer album. Counterpoint — if you buy a pie and let it sit on the counter too long, one slice might have a little fuzz on it. Do you throw away the whole pie or do you cut out the bad slice and enjoy the rest? In DDG’s case I’m still willing to eat the pie. I wish “Famous” didn’t exist, but the people who are trying to put him onto “worst rapper ever” lists over one song have jumped the gun and gotten way in their feelings about one controversial track. I don’t blame them though since DDG chose to stoke the fire, so now it’s up to him to either be burned by it or rise above the ashes.

DDG :: Maybe It's Me...
6.5Overall Score