Music

Russ Criticizes Post Malone’s Early Image As An Example Of Cultural Appropriation

Atlanta rapper Russ has always been outspoken when it comes to what he sees as problems in hip-hop and it seems he’s found a new target for his frustrations: Post Malone. During a recent visit to the Brilliant Idiots podcast helmed by Charlamagne Tha God and Andrew Schulz to promote his new album Shake The Snow Globe, Russ launched into a diatribe about cultural appropriation in hip-hop — especially with regard to white people using hip-hop for personal profit. While Russ didn’t specifically name Post, with a little goading from expert instigator Charlamagne, Russ was more than willing to use the “Circles” singer as an example.

“If you’re white in hip-hop, you have to contribute to Black culture in some sort of fashion — otherwise you are repeating history by coming into Black culture and using that as a medium to steal and profit for self,” Russ explains during the discussion, which begins around the hour-thirty mark of the video above. While Russ owns his own privilege in that regard, pointing out that a Black rapper wouldn’t sell out arenas in Portugal the way he does later in the interview. “You can’t come into this from the vessel of hip-hop and use the clothes and the language and the music and then go off and start doing something white.”

That’s when Charlamagne cuts in: “Are you talking about Post Malone?” he posits. “That’s a fair example,” Russ replies. “I do think that it’s an interesting thing to look at from that lens of where you come in with braids and golds to the point people are thinking you’re mixed and now, you drink Bud Light and wear cowboy boots and stuff.” While Russ does say he believes that Post is a “phenomenal” musician, he also points out that when “White Iverson” came out, Post was effectively performing a caricature of Blackness, but by the time Hollywood’s Bleeding came out, Post had adopted a more country-western aesthetic.

“Certain things like that are fair critiques as far as: You came in and used hip-hop because its the coolest genre and the coolest look and aesthetic. You used it to propel yourself to the forefront and then you reverted back to who you really were.”

Press play on the video above to watch the interview in full.

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