Post Malone: The Essence of a Culture Vulture


The phrase culture vulture is thrown around a lot. It comes up in fashion, music, television and just about every aspect of life. The meaning behind the phrase is used to describe someone who steals elements of a culture they have no relationship or respect with in order to profit. Often times these people are Caucasian. Now, that doesn't mean your average white guy who enjoys eating at a local Ethiopian restaurant, really enjoys hip hop music, or enjoys Chicago style stepping is a culture vulture.

A culture vulture is someone who will steal elements of cultures and pass them off as their own. Often times the word can be used in the wrong sense but other times it is the perfect description for some individuals. One individual that fits the definition to a "T" is rapper Post Malone best know for his song "Rockstar."

Charlamange Tha God is a radio and TV personality who has been on the wrong side of a number of issues. He's best known for being an on air instigator. However, even a broken clock is right twice a day. Charlamange proved that in an interview with Post Malone on a Breakfast Club. He begins the interview with a few jokes and pokes fun at Post Malone possibly being "trans racial" in the same sense as Rachel Dolezal. The interview starts to take a turn after Post begins to talk about how he's not rapper because he can play instruments. Charlamange asks if he would be afraid of being considered a culture vulture to which he responds with a tangent about how he isn't afraid because he likes what he likes. DJ Envy attempts to get the interview back on track but Charlamange is visibly upset. Post Malone, who often sports cornrows a hairstyle popular in the black community for centuries doesn't actually know what they're called Charlamange returns to the conversation to inform Malone of the name cornrows and add "all white people who wear cornrows look stupid, but I think black people with blonde wigs and blue contacts look stupid too." Again DJ Envy attempts to bring the interview back to topic.

Charlamange then silences Malone with the question "what are you doing for the black lives matter movement?" DJ Envy attempts to laugh off the question but Charlamange presses the issue. Post Malone responds by skipping the question to inform us "In Dallas there was a kid named Christian Taylor that got shot and killed and you know a week before that happened you know he tweeted the lyrics to my song and that was prophetic." Charlamange gives a sarcastic "wow," as Malone continues before asking "what does that have to do with Black Lives Matter," which Malone answered "nothing." He goes on to say "I guess what I can do to help Black Lives Matter is to keep making music." Charlamange reprimands him for not being able to simply say he's doing nothing and points out he'd be better off saying he's looking too learn.

Some people may say Charlamange provoked him to say these things, but that's just not true. If anything he wasn't provoked to say much at all, because he didn't give many answers. He was asked a few hard hitting questions and tried to dance around them. Maybe it would have been okay if it were just one interview, not multiple interviews over the course of several years. I could talk about the interview where he said he'd have no problem performing Donald Trump, or the one where he stated he believes in dozens of conspiracy theories and owns an armory. But I won't because those aren't about Post Malone being a culture vulture. Instead we should look at his Rolling Stone profile from November of 2017.

During the interview Post Malone is asked about the interview with Charlamange and things take a turn. The following is a direct excerpt of the Rolling Stones piece:
Looking back, Malone tells me, "I wish I'd said, 'What are you doing for Black Lives Matter?' Some sassy shit to shut him up. Like, maybe my music's not the best, but I know I'm not a bad person, so you're just being a hater." Malone shakes his head. "He's not a good person. He hates me because I'm white and I'm different. But we're still rocking and we're still successful, and he can't stop it." (Reached for a response, Charlamagne mentions his involvement with various social-justice organizations, and says, "I don't not like people because they're white – I just didn't like him because at the time I thought he was wack," adding that he loves "Rockstar" and encourages Malone to "keep growing, keep winning" and "give back to the black community in some form.") I tell Malone that, to my ear, Charlamagne was raising the issues, however confrontationally, of white allyship and cultural appropriation. Malone nods but says that, in his view, he's been the target of so-called reverse racism. "People are gonna hate you for what they're not gonna understand you for," he says. He notes that he supports NFL players who kneel during the anthem. "It's all about pushing for equality – in both directions," he says. "Especially with the power of music, we can push past the world's flaws and make it a more beautiful place."
The idea that people are targeting Post because he's white and not because of his continued disrespect of hip hop culture and complete disregard for racial issues in America is ridiculous. Nobody is telling Macklemore that he needs to study up on race because he goes to Black Lives Matter protests looking to learn, he's gives interviews about systematic racism and drops lyrics about how he doesn't want to be Iggy Azalea or Elvis Presley. Nobody is saying El-P doesn't have any respect for hip hop culture, because he's been producing and rapping for over two decades and working with legendary artists in both while lending his talents to things like the film Bomb The System which heavily revolves around graffiti and hip hop culture.

The biggest slap in the face of hip hop would come just a week after the Rolling Stone piece in an interview with NewOnce.Paper. I will acknowledge the interviewer's question was edited out. However, it doesn't really matter unless the interviewer asked Post to just say something bad about hip hop. In the video he states:
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. There’s great hip-hop songs where they talk about life and they spit that real shit, but right now, there’s not a lot of people talking about real shit. Whenever I want to cry, whenever I want to sit down and have a nice cry, I’ll listen to some Bob Dylan. Or whenever I’m trying to have a good time and stay in a positive mood, I listen to hip-hop. Because it’s fun. I think hip-hop is important because it brings people together in a beautiful, happy way
I'm all about making fun of mumble rappers, but stating that hip hop has new emotional songs is ridiculous. You may not hear it filling the airwaves of your local radio station but emotion has been a massive part of hip hop from day one. If you're looking for sad emotions, fine, there are literally dozens of songs where rappers have broken down and cried on the song from Nas to The Game, Kendrick Lamar to Beanie Sigel, to Meek Mill, Lil B J. Cole and Ghostface. It's a constant through generations. Even if the artist isn't move to tears there are artists who have been known to move their fans to tears such as Kid Cudi, and Slug of Atmosphere are the first to come to mind.

Even before Jay Z wrote 4:44 he had a song called "Lost Ones," in which he loses business partners in the first verse, a girlfriend in the second and the third verse he blames himself for his nephews death because he bought the car. Nas has a song called "Dance," in which he wants nothing more than to dance with his mother who had just lost. Kendrick Lamar has dozens of songs about friends and family members he has lost to violence. He's not the only one, rappers speak on this all the time and not in a positive light, most recently his song "u" in which he blames himself for not being there and contemplates suicide. Joe Budden gets clowned a lot these days but since day one music has always been about releasing emotion to him such as the song "Only Human," in which he talks suicide, his drug addiction and unsteady faith. Going back further The Geto Boys are known for their song "Mind Playing Tricks on Me," where all verses were actually written by Scarface about his own battles with mental illness. He released a second version "Mind Playin Tricks 94," in which he goes into more detail about his issues.

The only reason that hip hop would never invoke any emotion in you is if you never spent more time with it than skimming through the radio or the new and popular tab on Spotify. It just goes to show once again that Post is all about making money off hip hop but can't be bothered to actually observe the genre beyond the small bubble that he's in. Feeling good and bringing people together is important to hip hop but writing off a whole genre as unemotional is ridiculous.

Beyond the interviews there's plenty of other issues that show Post Malone is nothing but a culture vulture feeding off both the hip hop community and the black community with no care for the repercussions of his actions. It goes beyond what he says, but what he does as well. You don't see Macklemore running around using the word "nigga," and posting it online only to delete after people begin calling him out for it.

It makes sense that he would be completely blind on racial issues in America. It's not surprising he would have no respect for hip hop. If you listened to what Post Malone says you'd think he had a love for hip hop from day one. If you actually looked at his history you would see that long before he ever wrote a rap song he performed in a metal band. When that didn't work out he tried soft rock. That's not a problem, lots of people enjoy more than one genre of music and there are plenty of rappers who have had rock bands or rockers who have rap albums such as rapper Ice T with his rock band Body Count, Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park who has his rap group Fort Minor, Travis Barker, then there's Zack de la Rocha, B-Real, and Chuck D who have all been going back and forth between rapping and rocking their entire careers. It's the fact that he tells blatant lies for the simple fact that he's attempting to endear himself to people who would not give him a second listen if they knew what he was really about. He just wants to be famous and the hip hop's ability to quickly go viral helped him achieve that.

In fact as recent as 2016 he's gone out of his way to distance himself from hip hop culture, while making hip hop. Going as far as to turn down a spot in the annual XXL Freshmen list because he was "going in a more rock, pop and country direction." In 2015 he told DJ Booth he wasn't a rapper, he was an artist, because apparently rappers aren't artist in his world. Donald Glover raps, sings, produces his own music, writes television shows, acts in major films, does stand up comedy and we would be here all day if we continued listing everything he does. Yet he's just an actor, rapper or comedian depending on who you ask. Malone has the advantage that white people such as Kid Rock, Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus can pull off. They can be labeled as just artists but black musicians never get that distinction. It doesn't matter how many films Andre 3000 does, he's just a rapper. Ice T just a rapper. Jennifer Hudson, just a singer. Beyonce, just a singer. The "I'm not a rapper, I'm an artist," line allows people like Kid Rock, Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, and Post Malone to make money in hip hop then rant and rave about how it is the worst thing ever.

The thing is, it's not just black people who see an issue with Post Malone. Sage Francis is a white man, he's a rapper. He's been rapping and touring since 1996 alongside more well known artists and groups like Brother Ali and Atmosphere. He's also the CEO of Strange Famous Records. In response to Post Malone's comments about lacking emotion he tweeted:
I understand how artists who blow up at a young age might have a narrow view of the genre that they vampire from, but they should be careful how they flash those gold front fangs.
He would go on to elaborate in a Facebook post where he states:
I can't imagine how my take on him being a genre vampire is nearly as offensive or off base as his belief that hip-hop is devoid of the the things that "real" music is able to provide us. I mean, shit...I've come up with too many people who have lived and died for the things he probably hasn't even taken the time to seek out yet. In due time, Post Malone. Maybe in post- "Post Malone" time.
Post Malone just is not a good person. He's done nothing to silence the critics other than yell reverse racism or blame it on the alcohol. He's already proven that he's a culture vulture. The scary part is that he doesn't care and he sees nothing wrong with any of his actions. Post Malone is the latest in a long line of white artists like Miley Cyrus to use hip hop to gain a fan base and showing nothing but disrespect and a lack of knowledge about the culture in response. Post Malone is the first since Kid Rock has someone pandered to black people while performing actions that can't be interpreted as anything other than racism, as they yell reverse racism. Post Malone is nothing more than a culture vulture in the purest form and he is certainly not the only one, nor will he be the last. To quote legendary rapper Scarface, "fucking culture vultures."

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Post Malone: The Essence of a Culture Vulture Post Malone: The Essence of a Culture Vulture Reviewed by Darrell S. on Friday, December 22, 2017 Rating: 5

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