Russ has shared his thoughts on industry blackballing and is of the opinion that it’s not really possible.
The release was projected to move 16,000 units in its first week. In contrast, Baby’s previous solo album, 2020’s BLAME IT ON BABY, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and moved 124,000 album-equivalent units, per Billboard. Still, DaBaby wasn’t bothered by the tepid projections and gave himself a pat on the back for his numbers.
“Not bad for da BlackBalled Baby,” the rapper wrote on his Instagram Stories.
Akademiks also chimed in on the conversation, claiming that Apple Music’s Ebro Darden was responsible. “Da Baby last project in 2020 ‘Blame it on Baby’ sold 124K first week,” the media personality wrote on Twitter. “His new project after being blackballed by Ebro, Apple Music is scheduled to do less than 20K. Now yall understand my Ebro convo…. DSPs control who is hot and who is not. Fall out of favor with them.. UR DONE.”
Ebro merely noted that Apple Music is hardly the only DSP. “Apple Music is not the only platform. Based on this dummy’s logic, Da Baby should be doing well on the platform HE works for. Is it?” Ebro asked.
Russ seemed to echo Ebro’s sentiment, writing in a lengthy post on his own IG Story that fans control first-week numbers, not the industry.
“I just wanna give my two cents on something in my industry. No artist is blackballed,” Russ wrote. “Unless they cut off your Wi-Fi, remove your social media accounts and take your music off all the streaming platforms, you are not blackballed. If you are famous and can still tell your fans, ‘hey I’m putting out music,’ then you’re not blackballed.”
— HipHopDX (@HipHopDX) October 3, 2022
He continued: “Fans will listen to your music or they won’t. It’s that simple. Also if you’re a famous artist and you NEED playlists in order for people to listen to your music, how real are your fans? Why don’t they support you regardless? We’re giving too much credit and power to DSP’s and not enough power to us (the artists) and the fans.
“I know for me, as long as I can tell my fans I’m putting out music. I’m straight. I’m not entitled to any playlists NOR do I need them for my fans to listen to me. That’s why they’re my FANS.”
Russ’s fans have remained die-hard supporters of the indie rapper for years now. In July, the 30-year-old posted account balances to Instagram flexing the bags he’s secured from TuneCore and his own distribution. He then compared his new numbers to the tiny first check he received from TuneCore in 2012.
“Inspirational purposes only,” he wrote. “April 2022. Half a million made off indie catalogue, just the master side. First slide is from my own distribution, second slide is Tunecore. Last slide is my first check ever independent. Make what you want. Stay consistent. Own it.”
Regardless of DaBaby’s first week numbers, the Charlottesville rapper will soon be taking the project on the road for his fall Baby On Baby 2 Tour, which kicks off on Oct. 27 in Minneapolis.
From there, the “BOP” rapper will head to Chicago, Detroit, Cincinnati, New York, Boston, and others before wrapping in Los Angeles, California on November 19. Tickets go on sale Friday at noon ET.