DJ Akademiks continues to face backlash for his comments about the pioneers of hip-hop. Ak’s claims that the founding fathers are “dusty” because they never made the same amount as rappers today. He later doubled down on his comments, adding that the forefathers didn’t provide the younger generation with enough game to avoid the same financial mistakes that they did. LL Cool J fired back at Ak but now, Russell Simmons chimed in.
DJ Akademiks attends 2018 ComplexCon-Day 1 at Long Beach Convention Center on November 3, 2018 in Long Beach, California. (Photo by Earl Gibson III/Getty Images)
The Def Jam co-founder issued a five-minute response on Instagram Live to Akademiks as the 50th anniversary of hip-hop approaches. He admitted that he doesn’t have any idea who DJ Akademiks is but understands that the media personality has a significant following. Simmons gave flowers to the founding fathers, like Kool Herc, DJ Busy B, Grandmaster Flash, Grand Wizard Theodore, and others for paving a way for himself.
“I was there before there was such things as records. These are people that played the parties that Rush Productions promoted. So they are the founding fathers and they created hip-hop,” he said, acknowledging that many of them didn’t get “so much money.” Simmons explained that hip-hop became an outlet that created thousands of jobs and allowed many people to provide for their families.
“Other people have become extremely rich. I remember working with artists who were the biggest of the big and some of them aren’t so wealthy today. I remember signing paperwork for Jay-Z and Kanye West, and they’re pretty rich,” he continued. “I look at hip-hop as a way to empower others. When you get older, maybe, if you get older, Mr. DJ, you will also look at hip-hop that way because, in the end, life only gives you a comfortable seat.”
Russell Simmons, Dr. Benjamin Chavis of the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network, Jaz-Z, Rev Run of Run DMC and Memphis Bleek pose during a press confrence to announce Jay-Z’s concert at Madison Square Garden and the release of his final solo album “The Black Album” September 24, 2003 in New York City. (Photo by Adam Rountree/Getty Images)
Simmons went on to explain that money can’t buy happiness. Despite still making a lot of money to this day, he explained that he abandoned a lot of the material items he possessed because they didn’t make him happy.
“I’m still making all this money because I said the worth of a man’s career is how many have you made successful. We’ve made hundreds of people millionaires — many of them. Most of them. So many millionaires,” he said, citing Lyor Cohen, Julie Greenwald, and Kevin Lyles as examples who “came from the root.”
“So, don’t forget your roots, Akademiks. Is that how you pronounce it? Like the clothing brand? Stop it. Just pause and be grateful for those who came before you who built your life. I don’t know how wealthy you are or how many boats you float on. How many cars you own. How many people have you made rich? How many people have you made successful that have made their families successful? What have you done for the culture? Most importantly,” he said. “I know Kanye’s songs. I know Drake‘s songs. I don’t know you. I sound like Stacy Dash. I don’t know you, n***a, at all. I don’t know what you made but I wish you well.”
In the caption of the post, Simmons said that he wasn’t trying to attack Akademiks in any way but rather, as a means of opening up a dialogue. He also apologized to Akademiks if he offended him.
“Just got a earful from a dear friend a fellow yogi and teacher who suggested i apologize to @djakademiks he’s right i had no intention to offend him but to share a perspective i always say that if we want our words to be heard we should make them digestible
i am deeply sorry to my brother and i stand corrected and i owe him a PERSONAL APOLOGY NO EXCUSE,” he wrote.
We’ll keep you posted on whether Akademiks responds to Russell Simmons’s message.