DaBaby’s new crib makes waves in small-town Troutman

Neighbors complain about guard towers, stadium lighting and armed entourage.
DaBaby-Troutman-home

This article originally published on Charlotte Ledger and was republished with permission. Sign up for a free subscription.


There are some things you wouldn’t expect to see in a small country town like Troutman, N.C., population 2,800: a $2.3 million estate ringed by two-story guard towers and concrete walls. Caravans of black Cadillac Escalades. Backyard stadium lighting.

But since international rap star DaBaby moved in less than a year ago, he has created a stir that residents say is unlike anything the town has ever seen.

DaBaby’s compound — 35 miles north of Charlotte, near where the Catawba River enters Lake Norman — is on a quiet, two-lane street dotted with Trump yard signs. It has certainly attracted the attention of the neighbors. It is also becoming well-known to Troutman code enforcement and police, many of whom say they had never heard of the Grammy-nominated musician from Charlotte until the complaints started pouring in.

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There have been 31 calls for service at DaBaby’s address since December 2019, Iredell County’s emergency communications office says — including 14 instances of burglar alarms going off, four noise complaints and at least two domestic arguments. More recently, neighbors have been anonymously phoning in complaints about construction at DaBaby’s estate, including concerns about new guard towers, a concrete wall and what they say are bright stadium-style lights.

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On Friday afternoon in DaBaby’s new neighborhood, residents described being stunned by their heavily guarded new neighbor. None of the four neighbors The Ledger talked to said they’d met DaBaby or his staff, and none wanted to be quoted because of privacy concerns.

Several said they can tell when DaBaby is in town by whether his stadium lights are on at night and the presence of shiny black Escalades and other cars driving in and out. One annoyed neighbor said “100 cars a day” drive by to take photos of the compound.

Open secret: DaBaby’s home in Troutman has not been previously disclosed in the media, though it seems well-known in the area among young people — especially with teenagers at South Iredell High School, several people said. But the existence of a rap star in Troutman’s midst is less well-known among the older crowd, many of whom are unfamiliar with him and his music. When The Ledger called Troutman town manager Bryan Gruesbeck last week to ask if he had heard of complaints about a rapper named DaBaby, Gruesbeck said: “I thought my rap game was really strong, but I don’t even know who that is.”

DaBaby’s neighbors, though, certainly now know who he is. One said she noticed this summer that guards “were sitting outside in their Escalade, and they actually had guns.”

She added: “This is a very friendly neighborhood, so having someone down there to have guards up and not speak to nobody — it’s just kind of weird.”

From Vance High to rap star

DaBaby, whose real name is Jonathan Kirk, is something of a Charlotte Cinderella story, albeit a complicated one.

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He moved to Charlotte from Cleveland as a child, attended elementary, middle and high schools in Charlotte, and graduated from Vance High School in 2010.

The 28-year-old is one of the biggest names in rap music. He has released two No. 1 albums, sells out concerts, and headlines major shows like the BET Awards and “Saturday Night Live.” Last month, his third studio album, Blame It On Baby, went platinum. It contains his first No. 1 song, “Rockstar.” His 2019 hit “Suge” was nominated for a Grammy for best rap song.

He’s also known for his rap sheet. He was arrested on battery charges in January in Miami. In 2018, he was charged with carrying a concealed weapon stemming from a fatal shooting at a Huntersville Walmart, though that charge was dismissed. Last December, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police handcuffed and detained him for marijuana possession after his concert at Bojangles Coliseum but then later dropped the charges. He famously got into a fight at SouthPark mall’s Louis Vuitton store in May 2019, though there was later some speculation that the incident was staged.

Despite his international fame, DaBaby has maintained his Charlotte ties. He hosted a “VOTE BABY VOTE” voter registration drive earlier this month in north Charlotte, and in June he was part of a panel discussion about systemic racism and police reform with civic leaders at the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts + Culture.

In June 2020, DaBaby was part of a panel discussion about systemic racism and police reform at the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts + Culture. (Photo: QCity Metro)

He wore a Charlotte Hornets jersey on “SNL,” and when his jet broke down on the tarmac the week of that appearance and he was unable to fly from New York to Charlotte for a concert at Bojangles Coliseum, he Facetimed the venue from the broken-down jet and spoke directly to the crowd on the big screen, then later did a make-up concert.

Property records show his new house is 11,300 square feet and has five bedrooms, eight full bathrooms and one half-bath. It sits on nine acres and was bought for $2.3 million in November 2019. His name is not on the deed. Instead, the house is owned by a woman believed to be his mother. When it was on the market last year, the mansion, built in 2018, was billed as a “modern Tuscan estate” with marble tile, a theater room, a custom-designed wine cellar and a turfed putting and chipping area. “This IS the home for the proverbial entertainer,” the listing said.

DaBaby’s estate stands out on the residential street, where most of the one-and two-story homes are modest and valued at between $250,000 and $500,000, according to county tax records.

Trouble in Troutman

DaBaby is also becoming known to Troutman law enforcement. Troutman police Chief Tina Fleming says she first learned who DaBaby was when she responded to a 911 call from his house on Jan. 29.

Police records show that DaBaby called police after a disagreement with the 26-year-old mother of their 2-year-old daughter. The two were arguing about their relationship, and she went to a master bathroom closet and poured bleach on about $10,000 worth of his clothing — including a $1,600 pair of Gucci dress pants, three hooded sweatshirts valued at $2,000, a $550 pair of Burberry shorts, a $900 pair of Balenciaga sneakers and a $300 Detroit Pistons jersey, according to a police report. Police cited her for damage to property.

Police showed up again on April 22, when DaBaby called 911 to report that she had consumed too much wine and “was drunk and destroying his house,” according to the police report. He told police he tried to lock himself in the master bedroom to escape her yelling at him but that she “kicked open the bedroom door,” breaking it and the door frame.

[Read the police reports from the Troutman Police Department.]

Records show noise complaints on March 27, April 8, May 9 and Sept. 1, though there are no details available on those incidents.

In early June, county records show the property applied for a permit to build five guard stations on the perimeter of the property, and construction started on a 10-foot-high concrete wall. Neighbors complained that the construction violated town ordinances.

DaBaby-guard-towers-Troutman
DaBaby’s guard towers and concrete wall drew complaints to Troutman officials from neighbors. Photo posted by Charlotte Ledger

The investigation fell to John Ganus, Troutman’s part-time code administrator, whose cases usually involve overgrown grass or trash in somebody’s yard. After working with Iredell County building inspectors on the issue, Ganus said: “We determined at that time that there was nothing they were doing in violation of the ordinance, in terms of the walls and the fencing and that kind of thing.”

The most recent complaint came last week, when an anonymous caller alerted the town that “extremely bright stadium-style lighting” had been installed on the property, Ganus said. He said he had not yet had time to review the town’s ordinances to determine if the lighting is permissible.

It’s unclear what the lights are for. Town officials and neighbors say they’ve heard DaBaby is building a football field. A video he posted on Instagram last month shows several light poles around a basketball court near his swimming pool.

When The Ledger approached DaBaby’s property on Friday, the guard towers were unmanned, and neither of the two gated driveway entrances had a doorbell or call button. We spoke with someone outside the mansion gates who said he was part of the “big staff” that works at the estate, and said he’d pass along a reporter’s business card to somebody who handles publicity. As of Sunday, nobody had responded. The Ledger also sent a message Sunday to DaBaby through his promotion company’s website but didn’t hear back.

Another nearby resident said he was surprised in April when he moved to the neighborhood and discovered he was living near a rap star. He’s noticed that the stadium lighting is getting brighter in his yard as the leaves fall off the trees, but it doesn’t bother him.

“I understand he’s a nice guy. … I know he does a lot of public service stuff. I’ve seen him on television, but I’ve never met him,” he said.

“I don’t think he does any walking around. He’s not social,” he said. “He bought it to say he had a place to go where nobody’s gonna bother him. Who’s gonna come out here? There’s no place to park, and it’s fenced all the way around.”

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This article has 40 comments.

  1. Damn a man can’t build a house on build a wall around it without people complaining leave that damn man alone man he’s not bothering anybody. Mo Money Mo Problems live your life little homie.

    1. Man i stay 10 mins away from troutman hate the sight of it good people. But i hate to go near that place the law is over excited about everything i avoid troutman every chance i get even if i have to go out my way. I got pulled over twice in one day for no reason i think cause i was opps dont say it but anyway i expect this out of troutman they worried about a rap star instead of the drunks thier creating with thier new liquor store sounds like a trump thing.

    2. Yall hating because he black if it was a white person yall wouldnt say shit fuck yall and trump voters you races ass motha fuckers

    3. He did the best thing he could have being in the county he’s in! Those Racist trumpsters(as we say in NC) are only calling because he is Black and being ha probaly has more money than everyone around him, they mad they can’t build a wall! Put Your Biden/Harris signs around your home young man and keep your gaurds posted! Live Your Best Live! Don’t Gi Back and Forth with Them! Peace

    4. If he is building a home within the city codes and not breaking no laws, leave the young man alone.

    5. Leave that man alone an let him live his life. He ain’t bothering boone. Stop hating on this man if u was in his shoes u would need a staff that big guard towers an lights to light up his property for safety concerns y’all just hating cuz he got the money an notoriety to do such things he is a famous figure safety concerns are part of his everyday life so get use to it. Be glad he spending money in nc to buy house an land an helping troutman’s an nc revenue just like any other homeowner in this state or city

    6. This story is just clickbait. I don’t think anybody is actually complaining except his baby momma. He needs a restraining order on her.

    7. I agree!! I drove by just to see it because I live in the area! It’s massive and very beautiful!! It’s amazing! Lots of comments say it’s cause he’s black… pssht not me… I think he’s hott af and love that he chose to move here!! Lighten up people. I saw y’all’s houses beside him… across the street has same gates and lights too! It’s the people on down the road. Love him! Hope he stays right here. And of course hope he invites me over!! 😉😉

  2. So let me get this straight… he paid/paying for everything at HIS HOME, and people are complaining about the upgrades he’s doing for HIS home?? Yet they wanted to build a wall separating Mexico and the USA??? I don’t see what the problem is considering it’s HIS!!! Make it make sense someone please!!

  3. When people become rich and famous and everybody know you they cannot buy a house near their city because if they do either somebody going to try to kill them Rob them for their money so if he bought a house far away from his City in your neighborhood let him be you see that so many rappers getting killed because they got money and they are wealthy and I know people trying to get to him so let him have his privacy. Become a millionaire and let everybody know how famous you are and you’ll see what he going through

  4. Honestly with this bullshit being said, I don’t see what he doing wrong and a bunch of he said she said type of bullshit. Everybody got a life and how they live it, if it would be more of focusing on what you have in front of you and not what’s in front of the next person then it wouldn’t be so much of gathering information about somebody else’s business just to spread among other people for their opinion.

  5. They down for the clown to build a wall between the U S and Mexico… But a famous black man can’t build one around his house….. See where this is going… systemic and Injustice

  6. They said it in the article they support Trump if it was Taylor Swift the words would read and angle moved to Troutman. But because its a young rich black man its always going to be a issue. This is the world we live in and its only going to get worse for the young man until he moves. Smh

  7. This is purely racist. I live in NC and have lived here all my life. Trout man is not an urban area. It’s sad that he can’t chose where to lay his head. He’s a popular rapper. He doesn’t need to stay in Charlotte, that’s to dangerous. The young man is doing nothing illegal. If this was a white doctor or lawyer or corporate business man with no fame, nothing would be said. The neighbors don’t really care about the guard tower there really mad because a black person can reside in a gated community in a house bigger than there own. This racism stuff is a mess. Stop trying to hide what you really are. You are not concerned about a code. You are concerned about 2 colors. Black because you’re afraid of that…..as if God didn’t make us all and green because you’re greedy as hell. We see who the majority is on American Greed. I hope the stadium lights shine bright on the bigots he is surrounded by. Do your thing Da Baby. They mad because you own chains and real estate!

  8. I live down the street, and run past his house with my dog a couple times each week. What’s not to like? He has a nice house and maintains it well. People live out in the country so they can have some privacy and get away from drama. When you read stories about his real life, and how he can’t even go to a Walmart without getting hassled, I don’t blame him for putting a security wall with a gate. You kinda feel sorry for people whose popularity make it difficult to go out in public. He lives a short distance from some of the best mountain biking in the region… and probably will never know what it is like to go hiking in the woods, because he can’t go out without people bugging him. All I can say is “welcome to the neighborhood” and respect his privacy so that I am part of the solution – and not part of the problem.

  9. Hmmmm, so white folk come to urban communities and build towers next door to grandmA and its ok? The moment rolls are reversed.. slow singing and flower bringing…..CUT IT OUT AND GET OVER YOURSELF

  10. Live and Let Live. There are so many haters out here. Da Baby just wanted a nice home back home and he’s worked hard for it. Nosey neighbors will always do their job and be nosey. They are just shocked to see a black man with all this money out shine them. Do you and live it up. Nosey neighbor complaints should be directed to Power 98’s nosey neighbor news Lol…. So happy for you!

  11. I’m proud to have a successful young black man want to live in Iredell county. He made it and is living his dream and I guess some people can’t handle that weather it’s due to envy or racism or both. If I was very rich I would build something just like that to protect myself and my family, and I’m not rich or famous. I hope everyone will just mind their own business and leave him alone, welcome to tha hood Dababy lol. His only crime is moving to the least progressive, ultra conservative and frankly closed minded racist county, sad but true.

  12. I think it was a great idea putting up the towers and bright lights ….Clearly there’s racism going on ….Great job Dababy Cover every angle #TrumpHatersontheloose RT

  13. We live on the same street as him . We have talked to many neighbors and not one as I know of has a complaint. We think it is cool the young rapper lives in our neighborhood. More celebrities live in the area so he is not the first.

  14. The author of this article is full of S***. I live in the 3rd closest house to him and he has not caused any disturbance what so ever. 100 cars a day?? We are lucky to get 100 cars/week on this road. Yes the lights are a little bright but he is sitting on acres of property surrounded by woods. And for a fence, looks like this author has been doing some snooping. If I was DaBaby, I’d do the same thing for privacy.

    This article looks like a clickbait article… move on folks.

  15. I live in Troutman about 10 minutes from where he live. I didn’t even know he lived there until this article came out. They are really exaggrating their claims. Trumps sign are common in Troutman, that’s nothing new. We just ignore them. Move along people this is not a juicy story. The Dababy
    can’t be in town but so often, why they REALLY mad lol. He’s smart to have guards, if he know what I know! What people don’t know is, rappers like T.I & Lil Wayne rent out the Catawba Queen for parties, nobody was mad about that ( I know causes my cousin works on the boat ) The dock is closes to where he live. They don’t mind if you visit, they only mind when you stay.

  16. I’m welcoming him to build a home like that in my neighborhood, so my home value can shoot up. He’s followed all the rules with permits and so forth. No reason for complaints here or there. Jealousy of the black man needs to stop. This is 2020, stop hating. Peace out.

  17. Its funny the article states there are many Trump supporters on his street They have a problem with this man who paid for his estate to add on including a Wall which is no expense of theirs but support a man building a wall. Around a country with their money .

  18. Cut it out …some people just can’t stand change this shit is crazy. If it was somebody white and rich no one would have said a thing. Stop hating on the brother.

  19. Just. Let. The. Man. Live. In. His. Home. And. Make. Whatever. Improvements. He. Wants as long as they are to code. He’s apparently not going around telling his neighbors what to do with/in their homes so they should do likewise. I live outside of Troutman. It’s a nice area and I’ll never understand why some people make other’s lives their business. If my neighbor’s lights shined in my window and I didn’t like it, I’d get black-out blinds or curtains. Sheesh!

  20. MEAN! This article is very mean and in my opinion, misleading. I live on the same road as DaBaby & I have not seen ANYONE taking pictures of his house, I have never seen lights that are obtrusive/not to mention he is surrounded by woods. If there are reports of black SUVs with heavily armed occupants, that very well could be me, my husband or countless other neighbors that live on the same street. I do not appreciate the how this article is painting DaBaby’s neighbors. We are friendly folks that have NO problem with him being our neighbor. I know for a fact that he was invited to a neighborhood party held last week. I sincerely hope someone tells him that we do not think of him this way. Shame on you. This article is just like the rest of mainstream media – FALSE. Even if someone did give you this information, that is only 1 opinion. And clearly not the popular opinion.

  21. I live on this street. He has not brought any negativity that I have seen. He moved out here for the same reason we all did, peace… and to be away from everyone else. Give him his space. None of us on this street have advertised or shared that he lives down the road, no one wants the extra traffic or attention.

  22. This is some real BS, several of the police calls were because people won’t leave him alone. This man buys a expensive home for a get away from the world he works in, spends hundreds of thousands improving in and people going to get mad.i am a neighbor and have meet John he could not have been more of a nice guy. I also meet two of his security guards and they were also great. People who don’t even know him a pre judging him. I say stop and think. Let’s be nice to our neighbors and all get along.

  23. I don’t think people are thinking these day’s kids are born with disability’s an don’t know how to hate is more gifted than the normal people in this world even after all this racism I don’t hate anyone even if you hate me just knowing you hate me for my color means you really hate yourself cause your not my color cause tan is a brown color thank you an this country belongs to the natives not yours you is from European not the U.S it’s deep cause we teach all our kids that we will never get treated like other cause we are stronger than other people they mad cause we don’t cook clean plant crop an the main thing is we raised there children’s like jack daniels learn from a black man elvis stole all his music from black men an women Beatles same we the best in entertainment period tell your kids to stop wearing jordans that’s a black man name

  24. It’s the same thing everywhere. Those that have money get bothered by those who don’t. I live in a blue collar suburb of the cities and drive high end luxury cars. They attract attention because the median yearly income is lower than the price of one of my cars. Neighbors call the police to report my car driving too slow with dark tinted windows and feel threatened by them. Even though it’s a sports car I drive responsibly because children are present in the streets. Point is .. people are intimidated by things they can’t acquire and jealous of those that have those things so they try to make life hard for them.

  25. Everyone thinks its cause he black. Yall are stupid af!! It dont matter if you are black white yellow or fucking green. If you are a young entrepreneur that has stacks you are gonna get messed with end of story. Tired of everyone always thinking it’s about race. You all are the reason that there is racism! JS

  26. Even Ray Charles could see what this is all about. Will white people ever just admit that they have entitlement issues? They think the earth and everything in/on it was created for them. It’s just not so. The sooner you accept it and deal with it, the sooner we all can live in peace. Yet praying!

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