DJ Akademiks is steeped in hip-hop culture, whether you love it or hate it. It is one of the most tuned, most connected, and most diligent hip-hop content forces on the internet, keeping millions of people up to date with the latest trends, music releases and more on its popular. Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Twitch Networks. It’s known as a go-to source for information about your favorite rappers, and every time it goes live on Twitch you know it’s going to be an entertaining watch. Now he is pivoting in the podcasting world, and it has already proven to be a huge success.
After the first teasers, DJ Akademiks officially launched his Off The Record podcast this week, and he’s aiming to be the world’s most popular podcaster. “I just aim to be number one at anything,” Ak says of his goals with the podcast. Lucky for him, it didn’t take long to Off The Record to be ranked at the top of the podcast charts, becoming the # 1 music podcast on Spotify for a month, thanks only to its pre-launch episodes with 6ix9ine and Wack 100.
As Akademiks continues to have a solid understanding of hip-hop and pop culture, we spoke with the 30-year-old about his latest business endeavors, the new podcast, his friendship with 6ix9ine, and what he’s been up to. wants his legacy to be when it’s all said and done.
Read the full editorial copy of HNHH’s new interview with DJ Akademiks below, and be sure to Discover the first episode of Off The Record, where Ak talks about Kanye West DONDA and that of Drake Boy in love certified, the drama of Karen Civil, the disappearance of Gabby Petito, and more.
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HNHH: What made you want to switch to podcasting?
DJ Akademiks: I started out as an internet creator. Mainly because I felt the weather and the tide were changing. The younger generation didn’t really care about radio and felt like they were going digital. I was just about to get into podcasting about seven years ago in 2014. However, I just thought that most youngsters’ attention spans at that time were really small, like they didn’t. listened to or consumed no more than ten minutes. Even now, although TikTok exists and it is kind of the same for some people. But a lot of these people have gone quite digital. They no longer looked at the cable. They no longer listened to the radio. They will, for example, go to YouTube to watch their new favorite videos. They would go to Netflix to watch their favorite series. They would go to Spotify to listen to music or to listen to their favorite creators deliver podcasts. I felt this year and always watched my own audience figuring out what they wanted. This is the year I felt they were ready for longer content. They watched me stream for hours, and it was a test for me for years. Hey, you watch me make short videos on YouTube – will you watch all the content? The answer is a resounding yes.
What kind of subjects will you dive into?
I have to be honest with this one. Off the Record is a show that is going to be hosted by Musical Interests. So basically it’s a bit like the barber shop in a way. You know, everyone in a barbershop can have a few rappers and it’s always a conversation that goes on in a barbershop. But a hair salon is not just the place where people go to debate music. People talk about their daughter. People talk about what’s going on in their life, their work, their sports. People talk a little bit about politics. And again, that’s going to be all of that. You know, I want it to stay funny. I want it to stay light. But also, we are not opposed to dealing with some serious social issues. We might not be experts in sports and stuff, but that’s life. You know me and my friends we talk a lot about music, but we talk about relationships, we talk about the hardships of finding work, the pandemic, all of that stuff. We must therefore expect that all will be said. Much of it will be music related.
In the preview for Off The Record, we hear excerpts from your interviews with 6ix9ine, French Montana, Wack 100 and others. Who else can we expect to hear you speak with on the show?
Well, first of all, I’m going to employ a few of my friends that I met along the way to help me out a bit. You know, they could come out for an episode or two and it could be like A Boogie, 21 Savage. These two guys have been really great to me, but so have a bunch of other guys. But I also want to stress the fact that Off the Record not about flashy headlines. These are real conversations, we are not here to question anyone. So I think it’s going to be a place where we have a lot of rare interviews with artists who normally don’t speak in public. I have relationships with a lot of these artists, so I think they’ll feel a lot more comfortable talking to me than some of these traditional shows. You will see a bunch of different people on Off the Record, celebrities, artists and ordinary people.
In addition to artist interviews, you also have two round tables each week. Who are the people you are going to bring into your world, and what do they bring to the show?
Now this is important to me. I have always thought of my platform as “it’s the voice of the fans”, not the voice of the industry, not the friend of the artist’s voice, not the friend of the friend of industry, not the voice of the future industry guy. It’s the voice of the fans. I remember back in 2012, when I was as detached from the industry as you could be, I didn’t know a rapper in the world. And when I was consuming music and listening to who I liked, who I was cool with, or maybe someone I was skeptical of, I was able to give my friends an honest answer. And if that can’t be done, I don’t want to be a part of it, and that’s how I got away with it, sort of, entering the industry without really being in the industry. It’s giving fans a voice. So in roundtable interviews, I might have a highly respected journalist like Elliott Wilson. [I might] having my college mate living in the neighborhood who has a different perspective. They shouldn’t be names. And I’ll bring the name, but let’s have an honest, unfiltered conversation.
Many teasers have either been with 6ix9ine or have discussed its many controversies over the years. What is his implication in the podcast, and will he appear in many episodes?
69 is a friend of mine. 69 is very supportive of all the efforts and endeavors that I make. Now, I’m trying to challenge him, but you know, with the culture these days, people are trying to take platforms away from people they don’t agree with.
Out of the pilot episode alone, Off The Record became the # 1 music podcast for a month in the United States. Are you surprised that Off The Record was such an instant hit?
I’m certainly not that surprised. I will tell you why. I have a large audience that is super engaging and from the start I made sure to determine how much of my audience was platform specific versus brand specific. And platform specific meant, hey, you provide content on the platform that we love – we’re going to stay here. And then some people say, hey, we love the Akademiks brand and they would go to Twitch, they would go to Instagram, Twitter, and they would definitely go to Spotify. So I wasn’t surprised that we were successful on Spotify.
I was not surprised that we became number one for a month. OK, by the way, I’m only aiming to be number one in anything.
Charlamagne Tha God recently said that he thought you should have won the BET Hip-Hop Award for Best Hip-Hop Platform, but unfortunately you weren’t nominated. How do you feel about being snubbed at the BET Hip-Hop Awards, and who do you think should win the award if not you?
Charlamagne is a mentor of mine and someone who I think has matured so much in his career. Selfless opinions like this where, you know, his show is nominated as well, but he didn’t take that long to say, “hey, choose us” because he was gracious and did proof of fairness to even mention my name. I thank him for that.
“I think the reason they didn’t name me is probably one of the reasons they’re in the state they are in. For example, if you just watch BET, MTV and companies like that , they are out of touch with what young people want today. “
I think the reason they didn’t name me is probably one of the reasons they’re in the condition they are in. For example, if you just watch BET, MTV, and companies like that, they’ve gotten out of touch with what today’s young people want. So that’s understandable and I’m not that surprised, but hopefully, you know, at some point we’re finally on their radar. I think if it’s not us who wins I’ll go with it The breakfast club. You know, 10 years after the game started, they still have hard-hitting interviews, and all of their hosts, they’re branching out and pushing what could have become a normal show. They make it pretty much the greatest hip hop race, hip hop show we’ve ever seen. So I think they should win.
How do you do things differently with this podcast, compared to your job as a journalist / media personality on social media?
This podcast is where I want conversations to really take place. Sometimes it continues on other platforms, but there has to be a place where the conversation can actually take place. A place for the people who animate the culture and the people who consume the culture to have a speech, and that it is fair. On my Twitch, you’re mostly gonna get me fuming, and you’re going to have it on this podcast as well, but you’re also going to hear opposing views, you’re going to have me bring in people from different generations of media, and people with musical tastes. different. We will always mix. Sometimes we’ll have real-time impromptu conversations on Spotify Greenroom. In the end i want Off the Record to welcome intimate conversations between different generations, backgrounds and opposing points of view.
You have already built a legacy for yourself as a media personality. What kind of legacy do you want to build as a podcaster?
I want to build my legacy as a podcaster to be the person who brings the most entertainment. That’s it.
What I realized is that all I want is to be myself. I want the podcast to host honest, lively conversations. A lot of shows seem to settle into a little groove and stop pushing the boundaries. I want to mix it up with everyone. It will be something where I will share my point of view, but we will include all opinions. Sometimes music is political, and you need diversity of thought to have an honest show.