The Deadly Incident That Changed DaBaby’s Life

Jonathan Lyndale Kirk, better known as DaBaby (formerly Baby Jesus), is a rapper who is skyrocketing into fame. While he hasn’t gotten a No. 1 Billboard hit just yet, he has five songs in the top ten, and his song “BOP” was very close, making it to the No. 2 spot. Mostly known only by rap fans at first, he has also gotten a lot of attention from broader audiences, especially after his recent appearance as a musical guest on Saturday Night Live.

In addition to making headlines for his successes, however, he’s caught media attention for a string of arrests as well – one involving an incident at a Walmart that turned deadly.

What incident was DaBaby involved in at a Walmart?

DaBaby performing onstage at 2019 Rolling Loud LA
DaBaby | Scott Dudelson/Getty Images

In 2018, a simple trip to Walmart turned into a harrowing incident for the rapper. DaBaby reports he was shopping for winter clothes for his baby with the mother of their child, their baby, and her 5-year-old child, when two men flashed a gun at them. The confrontation ended when DaBaby shot and killed one of the men, 19-year-old Jalyn Domonique Craig.

After the incident, DaBaby himself spoke out posting a video to his Instagram saying in part, “F*****’ lawyers telling me not to say something and s***, f*** all that. Two ****** walk down on you and your whole m********** family, threaten y’all, whip out on y’all, *****, let me see what y’all gon’ too. You feel me?”

After that video, however, it appears he did take his lawyer’s advice and didn’t comment further on the incident. In the aftermath of the court proceedings, he was eventually charged with carrying a concealed firearm and received one year of unsupervised probation. It is assumed, though not reported, that the death of Craig was in fact deemed self-defense as DaBaby was never charged.

DaBaby has had other run-ins with the law

The charges DaBaby faced for the incident at Walmart weren’t the rapper’s first or last legal charges. Most recently he was detained in Miami, and news outlets are reporting that he was questioned in relation to a robbery. He once again took to social media to share his take on the incident. In a series of Instagram photos, he wrote a long message to fans including the words, “Don’t allow yourself to be ‘lost in the sauce’ or misinformed by the media.”

Looking further into the case, there is a great deal of misinformation floating around. The “robbery” in question was not of a bank or a store, but an iPhone and some cash from a promoter that allegedly underpaid DaBaby for his show. The theft was committed by a man with DaBaby (though DaBaby did allegedly punch the promoter) and DaBaby was not subsequently arrested or charged after questioning.

He was also arrested just before Christmas in Charlotte, North Carolina for marijuana possession, the latest in several arrests of this nature dating back several years.

Continued success despite legal issues

DaBaby is not deterred by the issues in his personal life and continues to strive to push himself to make better and better music. In a recent interview with The Guardian he said, “I’m a high-level performer – [it’s about] how I can take it to another level. I try not to be complacent in my music or with my performances. I gotta keep it fresh and rock out.” 

His latest album KIRK dropped in November 2019 to Billboard and critical success. Ken Tucker of NPR’s Fresh Air, marveled at how DaBaby is “not afraid to be goofy” and called the album one of 2019’s best hip-hop albums. His songs have also inspired a multitude of fan videos dancing along to his bouncing tunes, even one by actor/comedian Kevin Hart and his family. If the rapper keeps up his momentum, fans can be sure to expect more new and innovative music from DaBaby for years to come.