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Big Sean Regrets Making ‘IDFWU' After Naya Rivera's Fatal Swimming Accident 

The rapper insists that the 2014 club banger wasn't about the late actress, but her memoir tells a different story.
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 10: Big Sean performs onstage during Savage X Fenty Show Presented by Amazon Prime Video on September 10, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images)
By Taiia Smart Young · September 2, 2020

The debate about Big Sean’s “IDFWU” is making the rounds again, two months after Naya Rivera’s untimely death. The rapper said in a recent interview that he would’ve “never made the song” had he known Rivera’s life would end in a tragic accident.

“I don’t feel comfortable talking about it because I want to respect her,” he told New York Magazine. “She’s made such an impact on people, and she’s done so many great things in her life and her career that it was hurtful to even have that [song] be associated with her.”

Rivera and Sean started dating in 2013 and were engaged the following year. The Detroit rapper ended the engagement in 2014, the same year the alleged diss track was released. 

Still, fans said the lyrics appear to be directed at Rivera, especially since she married Ryan Dorsey three months after their engagement ended.  

“I heard you got a new man, I see you takin’ a pic/ Then you post it up, thinkin’ that it’s makin’ me sick/ brr, brr/ I see you calling, I be makin’ it quick/ I’mma answer that shit like ‘I don’t f*ck with you,’” Sean rapped on “IDFWU.”

But the Detroit rapper insisted the song wasn’t about Rivera. “It wasn’t a diss to her, I truly made the song and played it for her. She knew about it, and she liked it,” he said recently.”We had a breakup that was very public, and we were young and we forgave each other and moved on from that. If I would have known something this tragic would have happened, I would have never made the song.”

But in her 2016 memoir Sorry, Not Sorry: Dreams, Mistakes and Growing Up, Rivera wrote that she’d only heard the beat and a potential chorus for the infamous record. She begged Sean not to make “IDFWU” about a girl or a relationship. In Sorry, Not Sorry, Rivera revealed that Sean said he would never do that and wasn’t that type of person.

Rivera’s life was cut short while swimming in Ventura, County California back in July. Her death was ruled an accidental drowning by the local medical examiner. Authorities believe Rivera, who wasn’t wearing a life jacket, was able to get her son, who was wearing a life jacket, to safety by placing him in the boat, but she wasn’t able to safe herself. She was 33.

On Instagram, Sean remembered his ex by calling her “a hero.”He added that he was grateful for their time together. “I appreciate and cherish everything that ever happened between us for making me wiser and a better person. I’m still grieving and in shock, I can’t believe this is real,” he wrote in a caption of a black and white photo of Rivera. “I’m praying for you and your family and I know you’re watching over them and protecting them,” he wrote days after her death was confirmed.