Exclusive – Yung Bans made a name for himself in 2015 appearing on tracks with Playboy Carti and XXXTENTACION. He grew a solid fanbase with his Yung Bans mixtape series and expectations were high for his debut album.
When he dropped his debut album MISUNDERSTOOD in July 2019 it entered the top 10 on the US Apple Music chart but failed to enter the Billboard 200 — and DJ Akademiks dragged him all through the mud for it on Twitter that same month. He ridiculed the Atlanta rapper for his low album sales, forcing Bans to respond by saying his streams speak a different narrative and calling Akademiks a variety of names.
It’s been quiet for the beef since then, but it seems like the 21-year-old is still not rocking with the outspoken internet personality. During a recent conversation with HipHopDX, the MISUNDERSTOOD rapper spoke on Akademiks claiming he sold less than 10,000 copies in the first week and reflected on the beef he said never should’ve happened.
“MISUNDERSTOOD did more than I wanted it to,” he told HipHopDX. “That project was a super success. That’s my first project as an independent artist. I was 19 years old and I just dropped my first studio project. I did multiple millions of streams on the first day. That’s the best, my biggest debut ever. I did that project by myself. No label. Nothing. All me in my studio downstairs in the house, on house arrest.”
The album was released through Foundation Media and featured the singles “SOS,” “Prada Zombie,” “Going Bezurk” and features from Future, YNW Melly, Lil TJay, NAV, Lil Durk and more. Bans attributes the negative attention the album got to Akademiks, who used his platform to drag him and MISUNDERSTOOD with false narratives. Their problems initially started in February 2019 when he called Akademiks “the feds.” Akademiks responded by leaking old Instagram DMs between the two, where the young rapper asked him for a look.
The beef kicked off again months later when Lil Yachty claimed Bans stole the idea from Lil Boat’s debut album Teenage Emotions for his project. Akademiks chimed in and the two went back and forth again that summer.
“What it is, is you got culture vultures and haters like Akademiks and people who want to try and bring you down because they don’t like you personally,” he said. “They use an outlet to try to bring you down and build false perceptions about you to the world and make hate trains to strike that.
“I feel like people shouldn’t use their outlet to bring down up-and-coming artists. At that point, your credibility is nothing because you’re using your platform for the wrong thing.”
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According to Bans, the issue with Akademiks wasn’t beef at all because the former Everyday Struggle host isn’t a street guy. He claims Akademiks only ridicules rappers younger than him and not the more prominent artists who might’ve flopped as well.
“I wasted my time by replying,” he admitted. “I should have never even replied to [Akademiks]. He’s a nobody. It’s like somebody like Akademiks, you can’t call me a failure and say all this about me. You make music and what does your music do? Lil’ AK bullshit. You dropped songs, but they aren’t doing anything. So I’m just trying to figure out, how do you have the room to talk and call somebody else a failure?”
It seems like Bans isn’t moving past this issue but isn’t worried about Akademiks since he knows what his project did for him and his fans. In his eyes, as long as his fans love the music, why should he let the Billboard charts dictate what good music is?
“My fans say [MISUNDERSTOOD was] album of the year [in 2019], and they love it. Fuck a chart, a Billboard chart. What’s the Billboard chart to tell you what’s good music and what’s not good music,” he added.
Check back for more of our conversation with Yung Bans coming soon. In the meantime stream MISUNDERSTOOD below.