- Written by Kevin Benoit
Hip-Hop is best described as a culture and a way of life. That culture has become so multi-dimensional in the last decade and the culture continues to change, so finding long term longevity is more about perfecting your hustle and staying ahead of the culture rather than the art itself. DJ Vlad né Vladimir Lyubovny is a shining example of staying ahead of the culture. With his site, VladTV.com, known to some as ‘the Hip-Hop TMZ’ and undeniably one of the most visited news and entertainment sites on the web, Vlad has found his niche and continues to not only perfect his hustle, but continuously enhance it as well.
Vlad was always a student of Hip-Hop, having tried his hand at break dancing, producing, DJing and quite a few other activities in between. Hip-Hop was only a passion on the side for Vlad at first. Attending the University of California Berkeley he decided to study computer science, another one of his interests. After graduation he entered the industry and found success, but the music kept calling him. "I kinda reached this point where I was like 'I really want to do music. Let me try and concentrate and try to do music as well,'" Vlad explains. DJing came naturally so that became the push.
Vlad launched a site DJvlad.com and started posting mp3 files of his mixtapes. "I was the first person to ever do that because I really didn't have an outlet," Vlad recalls. I lived in the Bay Area in California and there was no Africans on Canal St over there, so it was really all I could do." The site was not only a success but it proved to be profitable as well.
A year later Vlad made his way to New York City with hopes of being the biggest DJ out here. He released his Rap Phenomenon mixtapes series and his site and his brand continued to grow but he still wasn't finding the success or popularity he was expecting. He found himself DJing in strip clubs just to pay rent.
Next he started doing Hip-Hop DVDs, again growing the brand and the audience. Eventually, as with all things, the sales began to decline and the trend became over populated. In January 2008, Vlad made his smartest move in life's game of chess with the creation of his youtube channel, which he called Vlad TV. Early on the skeptics were out in full force, but Vlad knew what he was doing. "It was just a youtube channel so people were wondering why I would call it that name. Now we're like the number 10 news channel on all of youtube and that includes ABC News, Associated Press and all those. We're number 10 on that list. Its one of those things, you gotta see the vision early and you have to adapt quickly because these hustles don't stay the same."
Vlad's story is important to all students of Hip-Hop, especially those who think the only way to find success is by grabbing a mic or by making a beat. Vlad's success is in part because of his education. The website, VladTV.com is programmed entirely by Vlad and his partner, Rob. Vlad found the perfect merger of his passion for music and his education in computers and he is successful now in part because of it. The rest of his success can be credited to his tireless devotion and 24-hour work ethic.
As we discussed in the beginning Hip-Hop is all about thinking ahead and Vlad knows this. Although he has found success, he isn't comfortable where he is. He currently produces videos for artists all over the industry, having already done videos for Jim Jones, Lil' Jon and many others under his company, Monstar Films. He's the VP of Loud.com a division of SRC Records, part of the Univeral Records brand. Vlad is also developing two new websites and a television show which he hints may be getting picked up by a major network.
Did I mention his work ethic?
As a member of the Hip-Hop community myself and student of the game, I recognized that Vlad needed to be acknowledged, not just for his success, but because he is really part of the culture and continues to do his part in keeping it alive.
DJ Vlad Talks About The Key To Success
Images by Phi Emerson
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