The artist legally known as James Todd Smith, 54, took to Instagram on Wednesday (Sept. 21) and passionately addressed Akademiks indirectly, being sure not to name any names so that his point didn’t get lost in the hype.
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“It came to my attention that a DJ — and I’m not gonna say any names ’cause I don’t think it’s necessary,” Big Ellie confidently began. “A DJ said that a lot of the pioneers in Hip Hop, they’re dusty or how can they be the person that invented Hip Hop if they don’t have a lot of money, or if they don’t represent like they have a lot of dough.”
The Rock The Bells founder added that ones worth within Hip-Hop isn’t reliant upon how much money they make. He cited innovators of other genres, such as Miles Davis and John Coltrane, as examples of artists who are revered without mention of their bank accounts.
The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee then explained Hip-Hop’s humble beginnings, a time when rappers and DJs didn’t have much to work with business-wise, but still made it work, paving the way for people like Ak himself.
“When Hip Hop first started, there were no managers, and there were no accountants that believed in it,” Cool J said. “Record companies didn’t even believe in it. Nobody believed in it. How can you make a 5-year plan or a 10-year plan on something that doesn’t even exist yet?”
The GOAT then sent a cautious statement to Akademiks and other people who conflate cultural impact with money.
“I’m all about getting paper. I’ve been talking about it my whole career. But don’t ever, ever, ever confuse being rich with making a contribution to our culture. Don’t ever play yourself like that again!
LL’s Instagram rant arrives in response to Akademiks ridiculing the culture’s founding fathers, calling them “dusty” for not “living good.”
“Have you seen any of these old rappers who be like they’re the foundation of Hip Hop really living good?,” Akademiks questioned. “Them ni**as be looking really dusty. I kid you not. Don’t none of y’all try and come for me ’cause I don’t f**k with y’all ni**as.”
Watch the full clip below.