The most shocking music moments of 2021

From DaBaby's homophobic rant to DMX's death, these incidents dropped many jaws in 2021.

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2021 was full of ebbs and flows of emotional highs and lows in music. Here are the most shocking musical moments of 2021.

Kirk Franklin curses out oldest son

Songwriter/producer Kirk Franklin is one of the most famous gospel artists in the world. While he’s been forthright about his struggles, he’s also maintained a calm, respectful public image throughout his career. That all changed when his oldest son, Kerrion, posted a phone conversation between the two of them, in which Franklin curses out his son.

“I’ll put my foot in your a–,” Franklin says to Kerrion in a heated argument. When Kerrion responded, “I dare you,” Kirk came back with “I will break your neck ni—, don’t you ever disrespect me!”

To say that we were shocked that the man who wrote “Silver and Gold” and “My Life, My Love, My All” would use such language and interact with his son in such an aggressive manner is an understatement.

DMX dies

Kanye West’s Sunday Service opens at DMX’s memorial at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. Photo: YouTube screenshot

The rap community endured several tragic deaths in 2021, from Biz Markie and Kangol Kid to Young Dolph and Black Rob. But perhaps the most shocking was the death of DMX in April. The multi-platinum MC from Yonkers died of a heart attack after spending several days on life support.

DMX lived a tumultuous life full of excess, imprisonment, and addiction. However, many felt that X had turned a positive corner in his life following his popular 2020 Verzuz battle with Snoop Dogg, a concert tour, several Instagram prayer sessions, an appearance on Drink Champs and a new album, Exodus, on the way. Sadly, he passed April 9 at the age of 50.

DaBaby’s homophobic rant at Rolling Loud Festival

As one of the final performers at Miami’s Rolling Loud Festival this past summer, platinum-selling rapper DaBaby delivered additions to his setlist that nobody asked for.

“If you didn’t show up today with HIV, AIDS, or any of them deadly sexually transmitted diseases, then put your cellphone lighter up,” he said in-between songs in his set. “Ladies, if your p— smell like water, put your cell phone lighter up. Fellas, if you ain’t sucking d–- in the parking lot, put your cell phone lighter up.”

The rhetoric didn’t go over well with his fans or with the public: He became a social media trending topic and several music festivals removed him from their line-ups.

A Verzuz fight between Bone Thugs-N-Harmony and Three 6 Mafia

The first-ever physical altercation at a Verzuz contest happened during Thursday night’s battle between Bone Thugs-N-Harmony and Three 6 Mafia.(Photo: Screenshot/Twitter)

Despite what the title suggests, Verzuz is almost never a demonstration of true rivalry, but instead a celebration of music. However, the year’s final Verzuz matchup between Bone Thugs-N-Harmony and Three 6 Mafia included a few unexpected fireworks.

Only four rounds in, Bone Thugs member Bizzy Bone became upset with Three 6 Mafia’s Gangsta Boo’s offensive gestures. “Before we even get started, you ugly muthaf—– not gon’ be mocking me when I’m on this mutha—-g stage,” he snapped. “Like straight the f— up.” Bizzy then threw his microphone at the Mafia and a physical altercation ensued.

Then the camera zoomed out and a “technical difficulties” slate went up for the online audience, like something out of a cartoon. Bizzy eventually apologized on stage and the event resumed.

Kanye West and Drake squash beef, unite for benefit concert

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Kanye West, Drake, and music producer J. Prince are pictured outside Drake’s home in Toronto on Nov. 16, 2021. (Credit: Ye/Instagram)

Some moments are shocking for good reasons. One such moment was the Free Larry Hoover concert with Kanye West and Drake.

The two rap superstars had been engulfed in a monumental beef since 2018, when Drake dissed Ye during “Duppy Freestyle,” a response to a diss from Pusha T. From there, things escalated. The beef reached its peak when Drake leaked Ye’s duet with Andre 3000, “Life of the Party,” without West’s consent, while Ye leaked the Google Map location of Drake’s home to the public on social media.

However, when Ye announced that he and music producer J Prince were planning a benefit concert in Los Angeles to free Hoover, a former Chicago gang leader currently serving six life sentences, he publicly invited Drake to perform alongside him and end their beef. Drake agreed, the concert streamed live on Prime Video and the two seem to be back in each other’s good graces.

Astroworld Festival deaths

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Travis Scott performs at Day 1 of the Astroworld Music Festival at NRG Park on Friday, Nov. 5, 2021, in Houston. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP)

The 2021 Astroworld Festival tragedy might be one of the most shocking musical events of the last decade.

Rapper Travis Scott founded the festival, which has included an eclectic array of artists in a carnival atmosphere, in 2018. During his set on the first night of the 2021 festival, a crowd surge occurred among the 50,000 attendees. Ten people died and hundreds were hospitalized.

Scott, along with festival promoter Live Nation and other performers (including Drake) have been at the receiving end of billions of dollars in lawsuits. As the public face of the tragedy, Scott has lost numerous endorsements and has been removed from concert and festival lineups, including Coachella 2022.

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