Vlad Lyubovny, better known as DJ Vlad, was born in Kiev, Ukraine on June 28, 1973. At age five, his family immigrated to the United States. They lived in Massachusetts for a while. Then they headed out west to San Mateo, California—which is just outside of San Francisco.
Vlad said he has been obsessed with hip-hop for as long as he can remember. In his younger years, N.W.A. was his jam. When he got older, he also fell in love with tech. Continue down the page to see how he combined these two passions to build a media empire.
After graduating high school, DJ Vlad attended University of California, Berkeley, where he studied computer science. Throughout college, he worked part-time at companies like Intel, Sun Microsystems, and AutoDesk.
His degree and work experience would pay off. When Vlad got out, he landed a six figure job right off the bat. For a while, he was also making beats on the side, but quit when he realized it would be hard to make money doing that.
Next, he dabbled in DJing and directing. According to Wikipedia, Vlad worked on a TV series called American Gangster, along with a documentary titled Ghostride the Whip.
VladTV.com launched soon after, where DJ Vlad began uploading MP3s (‘memba those?) of DJ mixtapes. A move to NYC then inspired Vlad to release a mixtape series of his own, called Rap Phenomenon. He was also making hip-hop DVDs, but sales were circling the drain. He needed to pivot, but what else was there? Enter YouTube.
The year was 2008. YouTube had just launched a Partner Program, allowing creators to earn a cut of the ad revenue their videos brought in. Vlad pounced on the opportunity. He pressed pause on everything else he had going on and focused all of his energy on his new VladTV channel.
Fast forward to present day: Vlad’s uploaded thousands of videos featuring “exclusive, hard-hitting interviews from urban artists, actors and athletes.” He’s got 4.36 million subscribers and roughly 3.4 billion total views at the time of writing this.
But Vlad’s blowup hasn’t been all popsicles and baby giggles. There was that time he broke a story about how Rick Ross used to work as a corrections officer and Ross retaliated by having his squad beat up DJ Vlad. Vlad then sued Da Boss for $4 million and was awarded $300,000.
There’s also been lots of controversy about Vlad’s interviews being used to entice rappers to self-snitch, thus leading to arrests and jail time. New Jersey rapper, Tsu Surf, had this to say: “Realistically, there is such thing as bait. You’re a baiter. Of course, you wouldn’t say, ‘I got anybody indicted,’ but you fish. You feel me?”
“And some of my peers, some of the people that sat in this [interview] seat [with Vlad] aren’t smart or witty enough to know when there is bait being swung their way, or when they are supposed to dip the bait. You know how they say it’s unknown CIs [confidential informants]? You didn’t do it but… hell yeah,” he explained.
Some take it a step further and claim DJ Vlad actually works for the Feds. Vlad adamantly denies these claims. And, while it pisses him off, at least he can wipe his tears with big face hundreds. That’s because DJ Vlad’s built himself a real whopper of a net worth. We believe it’s in the neighborhood of $9 million dollars.