There has been a lot of conversation in Hip Hop lately about blackballing. Specifically, DJ Akademiks accused Ebro Darden of banning DaBaby from influential platforms like Apple Music and Hot 97.
“DaBaby’s last project in 2020, Blame it on Baby, sold 124K first week. His new project after being blackballed by Ebro, Apple Music is scheduled to do less than 20K,” tweeted DJ Akademiks last month.
The host of Spotify’s Off The Record podcast continued, “Now yall understand my Ebro convo… DSPs control who is hot and who is not. Fall out of favor with them… UR DONE.”
Ebro Darden addressed DJ Akademik’s comments at the time, pointing out that he has no control over other streaming services such as Spotify. Apple Music’s Global Editorial Head of Hip Hop and R&B had more to say about Ak during an interview with Baller Alert.
“I don’t have that power,” responded Ebro when questioned if he has ever blackballed anyone in the music industry. “If the fans ain’t coming to your concerts, and the fans aren’t streaming your music – the music is on every platform. If the fans really want to go stream your s###, they type in your name and stream your s###.”
Ebro Darden also directly called out DJ Akademiks. The 47-year-old radio personality stated, “I would go over to Akademiks and be like, ‘You popping all that s###. What you gotta say now?’ But he don’t come outside.”
Later in the interview, Ebro Darden added, “Akademiks has an agenda. Why is Akademiks so concerned specifically about those four artists? Ask yourself that question.”
Darden also asked, “Why is [Akademiks] so concerned about NBA YoungBoy, DaBaby, Tory Lanez, and Tekashi 6ix9ine? Why those four? Why? Out of all the artists. So he’s got an agenda. Or he’s on somebody’s payroll. Or both.”
Several rappers came to DaBaby’s defense by suggesting the blackballing speculation was true. Meek Mill and Boosie Badazz both claimed the so-called powers-that-be are treating the Baby on Baby 2 album creator unfairly.
However, “Handsomer” rapper Russ seemed to align with Ebro Darden’s views on the topic. Russ pushed back on the narrative that DSPs have all the control over what songs become successful. Plus, DaBaby reportedly had trouble selling tickets to a recent concert which led some people to believe his fame is waning.