(AllHipHop Features) Up-and-coming rapper Trentavious “Bankroll Fresh” White was killed on March 4 as a result of a gunfight outside Atlanta’s Street Execs studio. Fellow ATL resident No Plug did an interview with DJ Vlad of VladTV where he accused Fresh of being the person to initiate the violence that took place that night.
Yesterday (August 10), Street Money Worldwide executive Marvin Shadi Powers released an open letter in defense of his nephew Bankroll Fresh. Powers’ statement was an unapologetic take down of DJ Vlad.
Shadi, a three-decade veteran of the entertainment business, has a personal history with Vladimir Lyubovny. The self-described internet marketing specialist even credits Vlad with providing him the most insight into the digital media arena.
I spoke with Powers by phone to get more details about his issues with Vlad. In addition, Street Money's VP of Digital Marketing discussed some of the claims made by No Plug.
Read part 1 of AllHipHop.com’s interview with Shadi Powers below.
Your letter was directed to Vlad. It was a pretty scathing letter. You accused him of being a “culture vulture” and a “thief.” I understand your anger about this situation. But outside of what’s going on with the No Plug interview, do you have any personal experience with Vlad that would support you calling him those things? Because that’s pretty heavy to call someone a culture vulture and a thief.
I know Vlad personally. I was a talent coordinator for him when he was running Comcast’s Hip-Hop On Demand for Russell Simmons back in 2006. He was always fair. I coordinated major interviews with major celebrities in Atlanta and the Southeast region. I was pretty much his go-to guy.
I never watched what happened to my interviews. He had DVDs with my interviews. I don’t even know if Russell was getting money from that. But somebody was.
I did a Jeezy interview in Atlanta. Before the interview started there was a Mountain Dew Code Red “sponsored by”... I was like, “Yo, if this interview is being sponsored by Mountain Dew Code Red, then I’m like a sucka in this situation. I’m just getting a few hundred dollars.” I had a problem right then, knowing I was getting seriously robbed for a long time.
The reason I call him a thief is… It’s like when you see a girl on Instagram who puts on something half-naked or she’s scantily clad. That’s a “thirst trap” or bait to get you to come to her page and follow her. Vlad does the same thing to get you to come to his site.
I was around him when he got his lawsuit money. I was around him when he got beat up by [Rick] Ross and them. On my mother, I was probably one of the first people he called after Ross and them beat him up.
Some people would say regardless of how you feel about his content, Vlad is just a media personality. So why be upset at him for providing a platform for someone to speak? Even if you disagree with what they said.
Dame Dash said the same thing about him. If you’re using that business model where you’re setting up a platform to help aspiring artists or give people a platform to speak, then why not give them a portion of the money that you’re making from it? Ain’t nobody getting paid but him. You can’t come to me and say, “I’m giving them exposure. I’m giving them free promotion.” Are you serious?
Just to be clear, your issue is not that he let No Plug speak on his platform? You just have a problem with the way his whole business practice is run?
No, Trentavious White is my nephew. Whatever problems I have with Vlad or how he’s getting his money... I follow the code of the streets. How another man gets his money is never a problem with me until you make it a problem with me. Even if I don’t like the practice.
It became a problem with me when you put that man on your platform. I gave you opportunities to speak to my family. I called you. I texted you. You had people get back at me from your camp and told them to tell me you’re passing on anything Bankroll.
“We good on Bankroll. We already covered his death. We're passing on [Bankroll] PJ. We ain’t covering none of that. We good.” That’s what he said. I can’t force him to do exclusives with my family. I was cool with it. I didn’t understand it, but I was cool with it.
So you were under the impression that he was done covering Bankroll’s death before the No Plug interview came out?
Right, the only thing I saw was what everybody else was posting. Anything he posted on Bankroll was what somebody else posted on all the other sites. I was reaching out to him personally because I know him, and I’m giving him an exclusive.
It puzzled me on why he turned it down. It didn’t hit me. I couldn’t understand it. Then all of a sudden, you do an interview with an alleged killer of my nephew? You didn’t reach out to me, the family? You didn’t reach out to the D.A.’s office to check and confirm the charges? Or the Atlanta police department?
You just let this guy talk - changing the narrative on my nephew’s persona, legacy, and everything. It was all a one-dimensional conversation. If you change the narrative to Fresh was the aggressor, Fresh was jealous of me about a girl, Fresh was the one that pulled the gun…
That was the implication that people took from No Plug’s interview - that the conflict between him and Bankroll was over a woman. From your understanding, was that what led to their falling out?
That was so far from the truth on what they fell out on. He said that Bank came over to the 9th Ward and they walked him out of there because he didn’t want nothing to happen to him. How did you walk him out of there when you walked him out of there by gunpoint? How is that being a friend when you walk someone out of a neighborhood by gunpoint?
In the interview, Plug also said that he and Bankroll had been friends since they were kids. How close were they?
Knowing you since we were kids and being friends since we were kids is two different things. If me and you were at the same school since we were kids that don’t mean we’re friends.
My nephew lived a lot of places, but the neighborhoods that my nephew started in and where he evolved is totally different from any hood that Plug could live in. He didn’t know him to that extent.
I’m not going to go deep into their relationship, but he tried to make it seem like they were buddies. Or they were best friends or something that they really wasn’t.
While watching the interview, some people were kind of disturbed by the fact that No Plug was smiling while he was talking about the situation.
Yeah, no remorse.
21 Savage did an interview where he said the reason No Plug was acting like that was because he’s just a “goofy person.” Do you buy that explanation?
Nah, I don’t even know why 21 Savage is allowing himself to be put in this equation. To be honest, he’s a young rapper that don’t come from the side of town where No Plug comes from.
He comes from the East Side - Zone 6 - where Fresh was living during the later part of his life. He comes from that part of town. Why would you put yourself in that equation? You don’t know Fresh at all. Why would you even do that?
In the No Plug interview, he made it seem like the case was closed and he was off the hook. But there have also been reports that the D.A.’s office is still investigating. Have you heard anything else about the status of the investigation?
First thing, the D.A. works with the family of the deceased. They’re going to make sure the family gets answers. Because he was interviewed by the police department... come on man, there’s enough reality shows - First 48 - to realize how this thing works.
Just because Homicide interviews you and lets you go don’t mean it’s over. They just ain’t got enough information. It’s an open investigation.
And because it’s an open investigation, why did Vlad let that man keep talking? Why did Vlad let that man say he was cleared because it was self-defense? The only person who can clear you by self-defense is a district attorney by a grand jury. You have to be charged with something to be cleared.
Yeah, one thing that I found confusing is that anyone familiar with the law knows that murder has no statute of limitations.
Right. Twenty, thirty years from now [someone can be charged]. Then I was reading the comments and I got angry. I read the comments on Vlad’s website because I understand this whole internet media thing.
You can control the narrative to people’s thought process. You can control the way people think and feel. The internet is a powerful tool. I understand it well because I’ve been playing the internet game a long time.
For Vlad to allow that to happen on his platform, shame on him. That’s a thief to me. Because he made money off of that. It’s money being made when you have half a million views. He’s getting money from the advertisers and YouTube.