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Vlad Can’t Have an OPINION About Black Culture, But he CAN Profit from it? (video)

The ongoing feud between Kendrick Lamar and Drake has not only showcased their immense talent and creativity but also highlighted issues of cultural exploitation in the hip-hop community. Central to this narrative is DJ Vlad, whose recent actions and criticisms have sparked significant backlash and debates about the role of outsiders in hip-hop culture.

The Incident with DJ Vlad and Morgan Jerkins

DJ Vlad faced criticism after he questioned the mixing quality of Kendrick Lamar’s song “Not Like Us.” This led to a contentious exchange with author and professor Morgan Jerkins. Jerkins accused Vlad of overstepping his bounds within the hip-hop community. The situation escalated when Vlad tagged Princeton University, Jerkins’ employer, in a tweet, intensifying the conflict and drawing widespread attention on social media.

Background of the Dispute

The core of the dispute between Vlad and Jerkins emerged from Vlad’s critique and Jerkins’ response that as a white individual, his perspective was not needed on a predominantly Black issue. Vlad’s threat to contact Princeton was perceived as an attempt to silence Jerkins, contributing to a broader discussion about the boundaries and ownership of cultural commentary in hip-hop.

Cultural Exploitation in Hip-Hop

The criticism of cultural exploitation in hip-hop revolves around individuals from outside the community profiting from its culture without respecting its origins or contributing positively to its evolution. This exploitation not only harms the public image of hip-hop artists by encouraging potentially damaging behavior but also undermines the authenticity and integrity of the community.

Personal Reflections from the Industry

As a black entrepreneur with extensive experience in the music industry, I have witnessed the dynamics of profit distribution and ownership in the industry, which often does not favor Black individuals despite our significant contributions. This is nothing new excusing the advent of the internet which creates an incredible plethora of opportunities for us to finally profit from our own culture. The feud between Kendrick and Drake, while a display of artistic prowess will garner the greatest profit to those outside the community, but it also raises concerns about, the often, dead silent, internal conflicts within the community still being commercially exploited by those outside of it. This is an anomaly.

The Role of White Media and Cultural Commentary

The extensive coverage of the Kendrick-Drake feud by major white-owned media outlets, including the Wall Street Journal and Forbes, alongside the minimal usual effort by their labels, highlights a broader issue of economic self-exploitation. These outlets reap substantial profits from the artists’ work, emphasizing the need for a reevaluation of who benefits from black creativity as a whole, Vlad is a very small part of it.


The complex scenario involving DJ Vlad, Morgan Jerkins, and the broader Kendrick-Drake feud encapsulates significant issues within hip-hop culture, including cultural exploitation, racial dynamics, and the commercialization of artist conflicts. This situation invites a deeper reflection on who should speak on cultural issues and how the community can protect its interests and authenticity in an increasingly commercialized industry but more importantly… (finish the sentence)

(132) Michael Jai White on Kendrick vs Drake: Black Folks Make Art Out of Tearing Each Other Down (Part 1) – YouTube


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