With his latest album released in April beerbongs & bentleys (deep sigh), meme machine and general crusty human being Post Malone continues his absurd journey of surreal stardom at the tender age of 23. An especially fascinating celebrity, I was moved to take a look into Malone’s journey from humble SoundCloud beginnings, to a peculiar breed of ‘rock star.’
In a shocking but fitting gesture in now-classic Malone fashion, ALWAYS TIRED is the latest ink etched into post Malone’s skin. Resting under his heavy eye bags in cursive script, the rapper now holds an impressive, nay, questionable collection of several facial tattoos. The young singer matches his lavish lifestyle with his spontaneous tattoos: extreme, sometimes humourous and often inspired by Justin Bieber. I want to clarify that in spite of some rash life choices, I am a Postie fan. However, after some of his more recent live performances, I’ve become dumbfounded.
One performance at Coachella earlier this year, should be made into the official video for the anti-smoking campaign. Left with a coarse and scratchy voice, Malone took to bouncing around the stage, while managing to screech out a few key phrases from his songs in a desperate attempt to connect with his fans. Despite this embarrassing mode of performance, Malone still maintains his status as one of the biggest names in hip-hop and manages to sell out shows again and agin.
Just a few days ago, I was brought to hysterical laughter by an article detailing the events of a Malone fan who was left emotionally scarred and physically ill after meeting the star. During the backstage meet, the fan was so repulsed by Malone’s musk that he literally threw-up. This was the point of realisation that my dear Postie had evolved from Texas teen to a full-blown, repugnant mainstream pop singer. I can safely say The Beatles didn’t adhere to this type of rock star, nor Led Zeppelin or The Rolling Stones. Malone has re-defined what a rock star is, and I don’t think I’m here for it.
Let’s backtrack to 2015: Texan teen Austin Post was just 20 when his rapid rise to stardom began to generate the meme and myth that is now commonly known as Post Malone. Malone might be the most intriguing figure to come into current popular culture (to me, at least). Is it perhaps that he is younger than me? Maybe. Was it how he learnt and mastered guitar through gaming phenomenon Guitar Hero long before picking up an actual, real one? Quite possibly. But more obviously, it’s how an ordinary boy with a tonne of charisma and a limited range of musical knowledge made an accidental claim to fame.
Since launching his music career on online platform SoundCloud, Malone’s single ‘White Iverson’ marked the birth of a viral sensation. Showing considerable writing talent, the sombre track ignited a wave of other successful singles turned club anthems. His most notable hit ‘Congratulations’ has now hit over 821 million views on YouTube, confirming Malone’s position as a one-man creative powerhouse. His one-of-a-kind image has become somewhat iconic, but it is his unique talent of fusing rap and folk music – blending together punchy rhymes with oddly beautiful lyrics that speak of heartbreak and coming of age experiences – which have really ignited mass fandom hysteria.
I’ve fallen through many a YouTube rabbit hole, and have found myself watching countless old videos of dear Postie, all bright-eyed and humble. From interviews, house tours and tattoo diaries to confessionals, studio recordings and even a ten-minute clip of the singer eating hot wings, I’ve seen ti all. Charming and adorably dorky, a 2017 Malone is a completely different face to the one struggling to keep his puffy eyes open (a.k.a. the one we see now). Echoing the lyrics of his 2017 hit ‘Rockstar,’ the unconventional “rock star” lifestyle Malone depicts in his lyrics is one that has become a tragic reality; “Cocaine on the table, liquor pourin’, don’t give a damn / Dude, your girlfriend is a groupie, she just tryna get in/ Sayin’, “I’m with the band”. It is this concept of the coked-up, alcohol-dependent celebrity that, in turn, has rendered him totally alien from the Malone in the videos I’ve watched over and over.
The mere name of this most recent album beerbongs & bentleys rests my case. Malone has fallen from decent, soulful melodies to the most cliched ‘perks’ of being a young white male musician; breathing in and exhaling every materialistic aspect that engulfs the culture that surrounds him.
Despite receiving mixed reviews from critics, the album is a monstrous component of contemporary hip-hop and will probably go platinum, like debut album Stoney. I know for a fact 17-year-old’s wearing Thrasher shirts are playing a song called ‘Rich & Sad’ (heavy, deeper sigh) from their Spotify right now, and that makes me concerned, to say the least. A sluggish poster boy for emphysema and poor hygiene, Malone’s adoption of the rock star definition is one that triggers my fight or flight response.
What are your thoughts on Post Malone’s new definition of a rockstar? Tell us in the comments below