"JAY-Z recorded a song entitled "Most Kingz." During this song, he's quoted as saying, "people look at you strange, and say 'you changed,' as if you worked that hard to stay the same."
If you were a hip-hop enthusiast in the year 2019, then you certainly knew, DaBaby.
DaBaby, born Jonathan Lyndale Kirk, is 28 years of age.
Interestingly enough, I share several similarities with Mr. Kirk. For starters, Kirk is the name he received from his father. Kirk is the first name of my father. While born outside of North Carolina, DaBaby was raised in the Tar Heel state. I, too, born in Virginia, was also raised in North Carolina. And finally, the commonality most interesting is that we were both born on December 22. While there are other smaller similarities (which we'll unpack as we go), I'd say our likeness pretty much stops here.
2019 was a meteoric year from DaBaby. On March 1, he released his debut album entitled Baby on Baby. This album was certified Gold, with over a half a million units sold by July 16. In this same year, he'd also receive an additional 6 RIAA recognized credits, with two certified Platinum, having over a million units sold - one was his single "Suge" and the other, a collaboration with another rising emcee, Megan Thee Stallion.
In an unprecedented demonstration of absolute confidence, on September 27 of the same year, he'd go on to release his sophomore album, entitled Kirk. This album would make history as his first #1 album, with a total of 145,000 units sold in the first week of its release.
Now, if he were flying on his first release, the second release would allow him to soar. With the Kirk album, he'd perform on the Jimmy Fallon Show, Saturday Night Live, and (as a result of his previous record) he would receive his first two Grammy nominations. He would then go on to start his self entitled "Kirk Tour" in the US, which would boast several sold-out dates. Not to mention that in the same year, he'd lead all artists, with the most entries in the Billboard 100, at 22.
"Now, if he were flying on his first release, the second release would allow him to soar."
From the outsiders' view, it would appear that nothing could stop his trajectory. Musically, he had the Midas touch, and his charisma was undeniable. Not to mention, that a knowledge of his history, would spark even his haters to be even more impressed with his ascension. Make no mistake about it; he's had his fair share of legal woes, ranging from misdemeanors to even a feared murder case, which would later be dropped and deemed self-defense. Yes, if you saw a man with a past like Mr. Kirk's, reaching any manner of success, you'd consider the alternative, and you'd commend his progress.
So, knowing all of this, you'd be shocked to learn of yet another similarity we share. I live in Pembroke Pines, FL; DaBaby was invited to perform there, at the top of 2020, at a nightclub called Cafe Iguana. The promoter of this show had initially agreed to pay him $30,000 to perform; however, when he met Mr. Kirk for payment, he only paid him $20,000.
This is the point of the story, where the lesson begins to unfold.
Ask yourself this question. How should DaBaby handle this situation? Indeed, $10,000 isn't a minor shortage. This lack of funds isn't an amount that would prompt you to say, "keep the change." Therefore, if anyone happens to be upset in this situation, that would be most understandable. However, after you've processed your honest feelings on the matter, I still ask, in this situation, what should he do?
Well, if you observed the pattern of the old Mr. Kirk, it would be fair to say that things are probably going to go very bad, very quick. I mean, after even a surface examination of his history and discography, one could conclude that aggression would more than likely be the result. However, you need to know, that this isn't the artist of old. This Mr. Kirk has a reported net worth of $3 to 5 Million, a fantastic career; he was just hours before being hailed by Diddy as the "hottest in the game," and he's the father of two small children. Surely you'd think that things would be different for the NEW Mr. Kirk.
"Musically, he had the Midas touch, and his charisma was undeniable. Not to mention, that a knowledge of his history, would spark even his haters to be even more impressed with his ascension."
And (for those who didn't know), that's where you'd be wrong.
On the third day of 2020, I, like many others, would learn that DaBaby was arrested and detained in South Florida on account of not one, but two assaults in two different states.
That's right, in addition to the charge he incurred in South Florida, he was also detained on another assault charge, that he received in the DFW airport in Texas (another commonality - my former stomping grounds.)
I saw this and thought, "I have so many questions."
What was he thinking? Who has his ear? There was no one to attempt to deescalate the situation in his camp? Where was security? Is his circle interested in his success? How does one obtain an assault charge in a state, and then make the same error in judgment some 1,000 miles away, days later?
As I pondered on those questions, I thought of a book I read a few years ago entitled The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by Dr. John C. Maxwell. In this book, Dr. Maxwell unpacks several principles that one ought to consider and observe as they develop in leadership. As the CEO of "Billion Dollar Baby Entertainment," I think it's fair to say that DaBaby is a leader; therefore, these rules would apply.
Indeed, they all are excellent; however, I'm explicitly noting the 18th rule, which is "The Law of Sacrifice." In this rule, Dr. Maxwell explains why a leader has to "give up to go up." In other words, you can't change and remain the same.
It was after I considered this rule, that I understood clearly the problem DaBaby had, it's a problem that many of us suffer; however, in different ways. He was trying to advance without honoring this simple rule:
There can be no elevation, with some measure of resignation.
In other words, you can't climb high and keep hold. JAY-Z recorded a song entitled "Most Kingz." During this song, he's quoted as saying, "people look at you strange, and say 'you changed,' as if you worked that hard to stay the same." While this line sparked moderate controversy in its original release, it's relevance is seen pretty clear, as one considers the most recent criminal involvement of Mr. Kirk. Keep in mind that in both instances, he was with other people who make their money, solely on the basis his freedom and successful activity. Thus, if he's in jail, nobody eats.
"There can be no elevation, without some measure of resignation."
Think about that and also, consider this. DaBaby is angry with a promoter who unfairly attempted to seize $10K from him. As a result, he assaults him. Subsequently, he's arrested and eventually released on a $1,500 bond. He misses two days of shows, incurs criminal lawyer fees, and has to reappear in court in both Texas and Florida with guaranteed fines awaiting him in both states. Not to mention, the assault victims are both all but guaranteed to sue, and we can't forget that in all of this, he still never received the $10K. Rich or not, we're talking about a loss of $10K (which could have been easily rectified in court) that anger transformed into an estimated loss of about $400K, all of which looks to be the out-of-pocket expense for Mr. Kirk.
Thus, the old Kirk's actions are now costing more than the new Kirk would have, if the Kirk of today were operating in agreement with his success.
We all, at some point, have to understand that every new rise requires a new response. Hate it or love it, we MUST change. I can't eat as I used to if I want to lose weight. I can't spend as I used to if I want to save money. And I can't respond in my success, the same way I did in the struggle.
This fact is unquestionably accurate regarding our relationship with Christ. Even Jesus said in Luke 9:62, "...No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God." (ESV) Or consider Paul in Philippians 3:12-14 where he would go on to say, "(12) Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. (13) Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, (14) I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." (ESV)
I pray DaBaby and each of us would understand that sometimes, one of the greatest hindrances to our success is our refusal to recognize that there can be no rise, without release.
For Mr. Kirk and all parties involved, I pray that God's Will is accomplished in this trial and that all parties can walk away with justice served and minimal harm. However, if I were a gambling man, I would almost guarantee that the punishment of Felicity Huffman, won't look like the punishment of Mr. Kirk.
The Moral of the Story: Elevation mandates termination, and if you don't deal with this fact, this fact will deal with you.
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Kevin D. Jones, Sr.
Kevin D. Jones, Sr.