Yesterday, Kodak Black walked out mid-show during an interview with Hot 97's Ebro in the Morning. The 17-minute interview was centered on his rise in South Florida's rap scene, his influence on "Bodak Yellow," and upcoming album, Dying to Live. It might sound like your standard interview—and much of it was. But things get painfully awkward around the 15 minute mark. Kodak didn't unleash the rage of Birdman's now iconic "all three of y'all" sentiment, but his abrupt exit following Ebro Darden's mention of his sexual assault case makes us question how effectively we're holding rap culture accountable for allegations of misconduct.
At the start of the interview, Ebro said he was apprehensive but jumped in anyway. Without much warming up, Ebro goes in for the big questions. "With [...] all the stuff you've been charged for, how much do you take accountability for?" It's a loaded question that Kodak doesn't seem bothered by, partly because "all the stuff he's been charged for" could be any of the seven felony charges (drug, firearm, child endangerment) he's accrued over the past year, tacted onto last year's sexual assault indictment. Throughout the interview he speaks candidly about the epiphanies he's come to on his own terms, including a biblical one about the inability for good trees to produce bad fruit and vice versa. "I don't want to believe in karma because I don't want to believe that the stuff I did would come back to me," he tells the morning show.
"Looking at all your cases and everything you've been through... I know the recent one right now is very sensitive and with respect to everybody involved in that case we can't get into details today. But we take sexual assault serious and we can't get into details but we hope to have you back so we can have a deep conversation about that because it's a serious topic," Ebro says, which prompts Rosenberg to derail the conversation into a conspiracy theory about 1969's moon landing. The rapper, visibly upset while the rest of the room erupts in laughter, is challenged again by Ebro. "You seem upset I brought it up."
"I feel like sometimes when niggas be going through shit y'all be entertained by bullshit. So change the subject or I'm finna walk out." The radio show host didn't budge. "We don't have to talk about nothing else. We could be done right here," Ebro says.
The disagreement between Kodak Black and Darden was as civil as it could be, but Darden's Twitter mentions tell a different story. Half of them say he disrespected Kodak, the other half are praising him for asking the rapper tough questions. Fellow South Florida rapper Trick Daddy—"who wants all the smoke"—even dedicated a whole video to the radio host. "I was trying to have a balanced convo with Kodak Black and not ignore the serious allegations against him but also not ask specifics to make his situation worse," Ebro tweeted yesterday. The conversation brewing as a result of the dustup between Kodak Black and Ebro shows how blurred the lines are between public figures and journalists in music media. Omitting crucial parts of the conversation, like a pending legal case, fails to dismantle rape culture in hip-hop.
The era that propelled DJ Akademiks' platform, one where he considers himself "a friend" to artists like 6ix9ine and
journalist, is the same era conflating the issue that journalists have a responsibility to ask tough questions. But Ebro didn't even ask Kodak anything. He tried to set up a conversation where the rapper would discuss his legal woes. It makes sense that Kodak might not want to talk about some of these issues; legally he may not be allowed to. But you'd think he may want to defend himself, even if he's just offering a canned response. To ignore Kodak's legal troubles would have been a glaring oversight in an era where people are speaking up about sexual assault more than ever. Ebro was just doing his job.
Kristin Corry is a staff writer for Noisey. Follow her on Twitter.