Hot off the heels of his Shake the Snow Globe album release and speaking with “The Rap Pack” podcast, Russ praised JAY-Z’s business sense and questioned why burgeoning rappers don’t follow his career model more often.
“I don’t know how many young kids in their 20s that are modeling their lifestyle and their rap career off of JAY-Z, which is sad,” he said during the episode. “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 continued.
Beyond JAY-Z’s musical and entrepreneurial prowess, Russ also noted his lyrical evolution to spread empowering and beneficial lessons, something he says rappers should be doing more of.
“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 explained.
He also defended against those who criticize JAY’s music for not being relatable, adding that inspiring growth is ultimately the point of the rap veteran’s music.
“Why do you want JAY-Z to be on [what] you’re on? I’ve never understood this... it shouldn’t feel relatable,” he said. “Like, I can’t relate to a lot of sh*t JAY talking, you know? But I love that, cause I’m like, ‘Oh there’s room to grow here.’”
Besides JAY-Z, Russ also gave his thoughts on drug use in the hip hop community — a topic he’s been vocal about before. He blames an increasingly popular “rockstar-mentality” for drug-related rapper deaths.
“The rap star archetype was not a drug user. It was a drug dealer,” he said. “But a lot of the rap now has been modeled off of those rock archetypes, as opposed to the rap star archetypes.”
“I feel like I’m trying my best to honor that ownership, but it’s sad,” he continued. “More people are concerned with being rockstars than rap stars. We’re losing the essence that made it rap.”
Russ’ Shake The Snow Globe album arrived at the top of this year and included features from Rick Ross, Bugus, Kiana Lede, Benny the Butcher, Devin the Dude and BIA.
See his full “Rap Pack” interview below.