The return of figures like Kid Rock and the rise of rock and rap fusions in the mainstream is sign enough that the aggro/nu-metal aesthetic has been the wave these past few years, but no person might be more an avatar for this revitalized era than Post Malone. Over the weekend he solidified his role as gatekeeper of all that is beery and wonderfully bro by linking up with WWE legend The Undertaker on stage. By "linking up," I of course mean that 'Taker placed Post in a choke-slam on a big screen and people cheered wildly.
The video was shown at Post's Austin, Texas show, during which Undertaker also came onstage and helped the rapper smash guitars during a sick guitar solo at the end of "Rockstar."
I'm not sure if these videos say a lot about America. I feel they definitely say something about Texas, the birthplace of Attitude Era greats like 'Taker and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. Most importantly, though they say something about the time that Post Malone is thriving in right now. Just recently, the rapper announced his inaugural Posty Fest to take place in Dallas this October, and I can't help but be reminded of Ozzfest, that energy-drink-fueled breeding ground of nu-metal also started by a successful party animal musician that flourished in 2001. This will complete the late 2010s' transformation to the late 90s and early 00s, and it's gonna be quite a time if we look to our recent history.
About twenty years ago, North American pop culture was consumed by visions of rage, angst, and being Xtreme as all hell. DMX and Limp Bizkit dominated music, Vin Diesel starred in a movie whose title was not even a word and just the letter "X" three times, and pro wrestling had evolved from comic book camp to brooding anger. The turn of the millennium was one long drop-tuned guitar riff. We moved past all that for a bit, but it seems that the election of Donald Trump has sent the world back to that mentality of "Xtreme" antics. Though we still don't know what the Posty Fest lineup'll be, I'd imagine it wouldn't stray too far from Post's own lane of arena-ready rap with rock influences (Travis Scott, Lil Uzi Vert, and Migos are likely contenders). There's a demand for this music and this… erm, "Attitude" right now and by God, Post Malone is going to be the one to supply it. How appropriate that Undertaker, whose whole character revolves around him being an undying corpse, is the herald for this moment. Rap is nu-metal now. We must embrace it. Welcome back to 1999.
Phil is on Twitter.