There’s no doubt that Post Malone’s “Rockstar” has been burning up the charts for quite some time, spending 18 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 and peaking at No. 1. The 21 Savage assisted-cut also holds the top position on the current Billboard Rap Charts, followed by another white rapper G-Eazy with “No Limit,” featuring A$AP Rocky & Cardi B.
While some might believe those respective chart positions makes it easy to be a successful white rapper these days, Malone believes otherwise.
“I definitely feel like there’s a struggle being a white rapper,” he told GQ. “But I don’t want to be a rapper. I just want to be a person that makes music. I make music that I like and I think that’s kicks ass, that I think the people who f–k with me as a person and as an artist will like.”
Elsewhere in the GQ piece, the reporter who’s Black, said he had a problem with a few things Malone said previously about hip-hop and admitted that he swung the conversation around to race on purpose. Clearly, the reporter isn’t the only one who’s expressed frustration towards the 22-year-old, many others have as well.
That’s because in 2015, right around the time Malone burst onto the scene with his cut “White Iverson,” he said that he didn’t want to be a rapper. He made that statement even though the tune pulls from trap style drums, uses Auto-tune and borrows much of hip-hop’s overall swagger.
Since then, the young musician has been accused of using hip-hop and urban culture to his maximum benefit but not wanting to claim it, as if it’ll hurt him somehow.
Another time that Malone dismissed hip-hop was in 2016 when he was selected as one of XXL’s top new rappers. After being offered a spot to appear on the magazine’s cover with the other chosen artists, he said his plans were to make more country, rock and pop music so he turned it down. But since then, Malone has only churned out more hip-hop music and has become more famous as a result.
Then if that wasn’t enough, in November of 2017, the Republic signed-artist took another shot at hip-hop and rap on a whole, which he later apologized for.
“If you’re looking for lyrics, if you’re looking to cry, if you’re looking to think about life, don’t listen to hip-hop,” he said during an interview with Poland’s NewsOnce. “There’s great hip-hop songs where they talk about life and they spit that real sh-t, but right now there’s not a lot of people talking about real sh-t.”
So now in 2018, the 22-year-old has the biggest song in rap with “Rockstar” and is still disassociating himself with hip-hop and being a rapper.
Clearly, Malone’s stance, and even his path to hip-hop stardom has been vastly different from earlier white rappers like MC Search, Everlast or Killer Mike’s partner El-P.
All of those artists and others included not only immersed themselves in hip-hop culture but had to prove themselves to a majority Black audience before they made it big in other markets.
Eminem, for example, had to go through the Black battle circuit before making a name for himself and getting the attention of industry heavyweights like Dr. Dre. He also didn’t get embraced by the mainstream pop stations until after he went through his hip-hop hazing.
Today, however, artists like Malone and G-Eazy are commonly played on the kinds of stations that typically stay away from Black rap artists, especially the ones who deliver songs that have lyrics about shooting people like “Rockstar” — even if that song is a chart-topper. So some might say it’s actually not that hard for Malone to be a white rapper at the moment, which is why he’s received some backlash.
Of course, it’s possible that Malone meant he finds it challenging to be a white artist in a Black-dominated genre because he’s often accused of cultural appropriation and has to explain himself. Or it could be that he just doesn’t like talking about race, which seemed to be evident in the GQ interview because according to the reporter he “struggled” with the following questions:
“Do you see that it’s political to be a Black rapper?” the writer asked.
“Yeah, yeah,” responded Malone. “I mean, sh-t.”
“And you also recognize that there are separate struggles that go along with race, right?”
“Yeah, of course,” the artist shot back.
Since his statements on being a white rapper have surfaced, many went on Twitter and responded.
post malone had the number 1 in the country a month ago and said "its a struggle being a white rapper". thats so funny
— 🕺🏾🕺🏾 (@odummy_) January 26, 2018