Jeff Weiss’ Washington Post article detailing the inaugural Posty Fest isn’t a conventional stinkpiece a lot because it as an unwavering Comedy Central roast. “What Post Malone is promoting is the chill-bro relatability of the third-most-sensitive member of a frat home, softly crooning acoustic guitar rap covers to seduce Gammas after a pledge paddling. He is the dynamite hack — the platonic playlist substitute on the Duke University espresso store so the vp doesn’t fire you for playing Young Dolph.”
While the biting sizzling take was promptly lambasted throughout the web as a snobbish try at satire, with Malone responding somewhat curtly by way of Twitter, it accommodates one plain fact. America has certainly fallen head over heels for the “rhinestone cowboy who appears like he crawled out of a primordial swamp of nacho cheese.” Critics have lengthy complained in regards to the lack of substance in pop music, issuing prolonged diatribes that vary from sensationalistic narcissism to pretentious finger-pointing. When it involves Post Malone, they’re not often complimentary. Purposefully inflammatory items from either side of the aisle gasoline the raging fires of hypocrisy to the purpose the place it’s inconceivable to seek out a solution that may fulfill everybody. And trying to appease all events concerned, because it seems, can have the exact opposite impact.
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Austin Richard Post, the suburban-Dallas-raised rapper who was named by Nielsen as 2018’s most popular musician, is in no way a revolutionary, however he’s a harbinger of the occasions. He’s a descendant of the melodic drift that set sail the day Kanye’s 808s & Heartbreak blueprint was launched to the plenty. Dubbed by Weiss because the “avatar of algorithm tradition,” Post boasts music that’s moored in sentient lethargy and watered down understandings of heartbreak, loneliness, and self-pity. His quirky and infrequently endearing sing-song tunes are designed for Get Turnt and Sad Boy Hours playlists alike.
Nonetheless, the 23-year-old has needed to develop a thick pores and skin ever since he reached mainstream consideration in 2015. He’s been known as a glorified nation star, artistically problematic, impulsive and short-sighted, talentless, outright deaf to the “narratives of ownership that course through hip-hop,” and nearly each different insult conceivable. Others have expressed extra complete issues, with radio character Charlamagne Tha God condemning Post as the following “Great White Hype” and citing Iggy Azalea and Macklemore as earlier examples of white rappers who’ve discovered large business success.
To say that Post’s music is en vogue could be a laughable understatement. The Ringer workers author Lindsay Zoladz put it merely: “he’s so standard proper now which you can’t ignore him.” Last April, the aspiring style lane-changer’s Beerbongs & Bentleys debuted at No. 1, shattering streaming information by way of the identical candy-coated components of earlier efforts. Post’s Twitter proclamation that he needed to take hip-hop and “stretch it thus far that individuals who might not hearken to it, hearken to it” proved to be wildly prophetic, along with his sophomore outing touchdown because the second most-streamed album in the U.S. on Spotify in 2018. Perhaps much more spectacular is that Stoney, his two-year-old debut, one way or the other managed to carry on at No. 5, a statistic that speaks volumes by itself.
Post comes off as a honest and likable goofball in all of the interviews that he’s been part of, whether or not it’s crushing hot wings with Sean Evans, going undercover with GQ, or casually chatting with Ethan and Hila Klein of H3H3. A number of the hate that he endures is superficial: he appears just like the Pig-Pen equal of a fuel station clerk who would fortunately provide to share the California rolls that he bought at an worker low cost value. He appears effectively conscious of this unlucky “even my shadow reeks of cigarettes” characterization: “On Halloween, they got here dressed up like me, which is simple: Just look homeless.” Over the previous yr or so, he has undergone a quasi-Queer Eye makeover, abandoning the “White Iverson” cornrows for a stringy man-bun earlier than most not too long ago selecting a musty mess of curls after claims surfaced of him smelling so bad that it induced vomiting amongst those that met him. His limited-edition collaboration with foam clog firm Crocs (which sold out in mere minutes) is a testomony to his oddball, “cowboy shit” tendencies and 21-century standing as a residing and respiratory music-meme hybrid.
For these whose objections run a lot deeper, Post stands an embarrassing embodiment of all the things “unsuitable” with hip-hop, an trade plant embalmed in day-old Bud Light and zapped again to life to roam unchecked throughout the music charts for the amusement of unsavory white rap followers. These accusations have been fueled partly by incidents reminiscent of an apology-inducing 2015 video of pre-fame Post utilizing the N-word, a rambling response to a query in regards to the Black Lives Matter motion throughout an interview with The Breakfast Club, and his dismissal from XXL’s annual Freshman cowl in 2016 as a result of stories that he was “going in additional of a rock/pop/nation path.”
He’s made quite a few makes an attempt to distance himself from the “rapper” title in favor of the extra nebulous “musician,” a transfer that’s perceived by critics as ignorantly dismissive because of the manner that it caters to white artists. His struggles to wrestle with questions of race and what it means to be black in America have elicited cries of white fragility and privilege. “If you are searching for lyrics, for those who’re seeking to cry, for those who’re trying to consider life, don’t listen to hip-hop,” Post informed Polish information outlet NewOnce in 2017. He later passed off his provocative feedback as being the results of a beer-tasting session that occurred throughout the interview (NewOnce denied these claims).
And but, the pop savant has been handsomely rewarded for his efforts. It’s a weird conundrum: are listeners to imagine Post’s assertion that “style is silly,” and that there’s no contradiction in him making a song with Justin Bieber one moment and 21 Savage the next? Or is he not appropriately exercising due diligence in partaking in a predominantly black artform?
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There exists a perceptible gray space between musical inclination and self-perception that leaves loads of room for criticism, though Post’s diehard followers appear wholly unbothered by such issues. In reality, his curated “outlaw” renown has solely made him extra standard. “Post is like the Donald Trump of hip-hop,” bragged Rob Stevenson, an govt at Malone’s label, Republic Records. “Things that ought to’ve killed his profession have solely made him greater.”
Post’s want to reinvent himself, to attain creative anonymity with out penalties, is the foundation explanation for this controversy. The empty signifiers, or somewhat “empty calories,” of his whole musical existence are sarcastically each the rationale for his monumental success and the rationale for his perceived “tradition vulture” inferiority. He’s a product of the present local weather wherein music that’s instinctively accessible trumps all. Sonic aesthetic is more and more prized by a mainstream consumer-base that enjoys music as a passive exercise, one thing to be thrown on within the background and forgotten till later discover (or till Spotify updates its Rap Caviar playlist). Palatable, pop-friendly lure developments are what’s in, and Post has continued to mine this jackpot with a sound that’s undemanding and mind-numbingly catchy.
For higher or worse (relying in your view), he’s a part of the brand new wave of “rappers” blurring the sides of hip-hop and increasing its boundaries. Emo, rap, and people now not perform as distinct bins to be checked in a drop-down menu. Instead, they’re now parts to be blended each which manner. It’s a selected form of musical experimentation that’s troublesome to drag off in convincing style, however Post stays undeterred in his quest to create “bops for everyday use.” And his present second of pop ubiquity as a sequined “redneck country rebel” has proven no indicators of letting up anytime quickly.
Post Malone’s endurance was cranked as much as absolutely the max in 2018, as evidenced by his streaming monopoly. “I do know it piss you off to see me winnin’,” he confidently warbles on new single “Wow.” It’s his newest entry in a listing that features loads of thematically cheesing odes to the “haters.” Admittedly, Post appears to be tremendous with the enormous goal on his again. While it’s potential that there shall be future missteps and extra off-color remarks, his rising legion of supporters will proceed to drown out the incredulous outbursts from critics. Whether or not you imagine that he’s exploiting modernity’s most bankable music type by churning out “one of the shallowest bastardizations of rap to date,” his attraction stays as sturdy as ever, a lot to the chagrin of trade gatekeepers.