The music industry is a fickle beast sometimes. It was nearly two years ago when Post Malone emerged on Soundcloud with a woozy, tranquil hit in the making titled “White Iverson,” an apparent unknown with a self made hit on his hand seemed destined for stardom, be it major label-assisted or otherwise. In eras past Post would have been fast tracked into a full release, thrust onto stages he wasn’t prepared for, under a limelight he couldn’t handle with expectations he couldn’t meet.
Except something peculiar happened, he sat and waited, and waited, and waited for that major label release once he signed to Republic in summer of 2015. His oft-delayed debut album Stoney has finally arrived, and shockingly it’s everything he promised it would be since his “White Iverson” buzz kicked into overdrive.
The delay in his debut was a double-edged sword in that sense. While it allowed Post more than enough time to craft the multi-faceted, genre-hopping album he’d promised, it also gave the industry, and the volatile internet the chance to pick the Syracuse, NY native apart. He caused a fervor in an interview with DJ Booth when he proclaimed “I’m not a rapper,” was accused of being a culture vulture and an industry plant, embarrassing videos of Post making bad music, and saying the n-word surfaced and it seemed all was lost. Post Malone would just be another one-hit internet wonder cast to the wayside, never to be seen or taken serious again.
Somehow, he fought through, and watched “White Iverson” collect three platinum plaques, delivered two more Billboard Hot 100 hits and a solid mixtape, August 26. Ironically that same interview where he claimed he wasn’t a rapper, Post also foretold exactly what his album would eventually be. “There’s going to be country, rock, folk, hip-hop, everything you could imagine, put into my own unique sound,” he said. “There’s a lot of live instrumentation, a lot of strings, a lot of guitars, keyboards and all that. We’re just making something that’s completely cool and different.”
So over a year later, he fulfills that promise with Stoney. Opening with a thudding but sparse production from Casino, Kudo and “White Iverson” producer FKi titled “Broken Whiskey Glass.” Post doesn’t set the tone of the album so much as he begins with one of the many possibilities of what it could be. As soon as that track ends the listener is greeted with DJ Mustard’s patented “Mustard on the beat, hoe” drop and the album juts to an entirely new place for the melodic and booming “Big Lie.” Stoney is packed with big name producers from Metro Boomin’ to Illangelo (of The Weeknd fame), and Post himself is credited with some production work.
Post rarely varies his content, it’s often a standard mix of flexing, women, drugs, nicotine and ragers, but when he does chose to divert from his typical path in the road he generally reaches a higher ceiling. “Deja Vu” is a duet with one of the biggest pop stars in the world, Justin Bieber, where Post spends time seducing the object of his affection on top of a warbling, mix of hollow drums, colorful synths and sultry guitar strums. The track is packed with inescapable melodies and harmonies — from both Post and Bieber — that make it the album’s most lasting, and brightest submission to hopeful listeners. Only the 2 Chainz collab “Money Made Me Do It,” previously released on that August 26 mixtape comes close to the general radiance and potency of “Deja Vu.”
The folk and country hybrids he promised show up, briefly on “I Fall Apart,” then more pronounced as Post strums his guitar and croons on “Leave” and “Feeling Whitney.” His second Soundcloud hit from the infancy stages of his career “Too Young” is featured, as well as the moderate hit “Go Flex,” from earlier this year. And of course, “White Iverson” finds a spot, surprisingly fitting well within the album’s sequencing at number six, especially if you’ve left it behind only to find it again and appreciate it all over again, like a $20 bill you thought you lost but found in the dryer a week later. By biding his time, and focusing on his music above all the other all-too-common celebrity noise, Post Malone has delivered a solid debut that cements him as one of the year’s breakout stars.
Check out Post Malone’s debut album Stoney below.