Russ doesn’t understand why Jay-Z’s lifestyle and career trajectory is not referenced as the framework to which the newer generation’s rappers aspire to model themselves after. Russ recently stopped by The Rap Pack podcast to promote his new album, Shake The Snow Globe, and got into a discussion about the differences between a rock star and a rap star with hosts Carl Chery, Trent Clark and Jon Tanners.
As the conversation started veering towards drug abuse in the hip hop community, Russ suggested that a major factor is that rappers are more attracted to rock star ideals, which heavily involves drug use. Rappers today have begun modelling themselves and their careers after the rock star image and lifestyle, which seeps into their sound. “The rap star archetype was not a drug user,” he notes. “It was a drug dealer.”
“[There’s] no real rapping. It’s just screaming, and it’s more about the intensity,” he notes. “Which is turnt, I love some of this shit. But a lot of the rap now has been modelled off of those rock archetypes as opposed to the rap star archetypes.” Russ brings up Jay-Z as a primary example of a true rap star, who doesn’t promote indulging in those harmful lifestyles. “I don’t know how many young kids in their 20s…that are modelling their lifestyle and their rap career off of Jay-Z, which is sad,” he says. “It’s unspoken, but I think [he] is probably the goal for everyone who starts to rap…If you want the most money, how are you not trying to model [your career] after Jay-Z?” he asks.
Russ acknowledges that a common critique of Jay’s music today is that fans think he’s “out of touch.” “He supposed to be the one running over the hill before all of us because he’s further along and telling us, ‘Nah, this isn’t it anymore,'” he explains. “Why do you want Jay-Z to be on what you’re on? I’ve never understood this…it should feel not relatable. Like, I can’t relate to a lot of shit Jay talking about. But I love that. I’m like, ‘Oh there’s room to grow here.'”
“More people are concerned with being rock stars than rap stars,” he declares. “We’re losing the essence that made it rap.”