The term ‘self-made’ gets thrown around a lot in hip-hop. Post Malone is a 22-year old hip hop artist from Syracuse, New York, recently spoken about on Forbes website as being ‘self-made’. He’s also been depicted in Luc Belaire’s ‘Self Made Tastes Better’ marketing campaign for the same quality.
There’s no disputing the success of his Post Malone’s White Iverson, which has amassed over 400 million YouTube videos to date and having generated over 100 million streams. Other Post Malone tracks have generated similar numbers. ‘Self-made’ thought might be taking things a little far. Here’s why.
Yes, There’s Hard Work
Before we get going on this, here us out. No matter how lucky someone is, they still got to put in the work. They need to show up on game day to be there for the opportunity to win. None of this is to discount Post Malone’s effort as a working musician. It’s simply to say that to say that he’s ‘self-made’ is nowhere near justified, on him or anyone for that matter, when you take a look at the help he’s had.
The Names who have Supported Him
Post Malone opened for Justin Bieber throughout the singer’s Purpose World Tour in the spring and early summer of 2016. Again, this isn’t to say he didn’t put in the work. But, that’s a huge opportunity for anyone and that kind of exposure helps to keep the engine of success turning.
The Systems that Helped Him
Post Malone’s early success is dependent upon YouTube and music streaming, and the algorithms associated with these platforms.
Speaking to Forbes, Post Malone says, “Being self-made is about being successful without cutting corners or changing who you are to impress anybody.”
The thing is that he’s not successful because he was defiant. He’s successful because someone needed to be successful in these systems and in this case, he was the lucky name that took the cue.
The Conditions are Right for Him to Succeed
Post Malone appeals to young people, he looked for exposure in the right areas, and he is playing the most commercially successful genre in the United States right now. Socio-politically, he aligns with what is popular in the marketplace right now.
Why Post Malone should be Admired
For all intents and purposes, this is someone who is willing to put in the work. He acts like himself, he does his own thing, and it appears like he’s true to his art. That said, he promotes himself as having “his own lane in music.” Comments like these reveal how inexperienced he is not only in music but also just in life, in general.
The success he has had is confined to streaming and YouTube, his mainstream success has only lasted for two years, and nothing he has done is unprecedented. The uniqueness of his success is non-existent.
All the power to him for making the music he wants to make, for people digging his stuff, and for the success he’s had. There’s nothing that can take that away from him. To sell consumers however that this is some sort of ‘self-made man’ is unfair. There’s many reasons why he is successful and many people who have paved the way for him to get to where he’s at today.
In the end, it’s not pure luck either. That said, he himself recounts the story of him putting out his first song and having 30,000 hits on it the very next day. There is some luck involved. There’s a lot of work too though. So we raise our glasses to Post Malone and celebrate his success. Let’s just be realistic about what’s been accomplished.