Anyone who has been following Post Malone’s progression in the music industry since his debut single, White Iverson, will know that his break onto the scene has not gone without it’s tremors, to say the least. Taking shots from radio hosts, rappers, and of course that infamous Charlemagne interview on The Breakfast Club, viciously rocking his boat and acting as an unofficial rite of passage, putting to test the resilience he had built up over the few months since White Iverson’s initial release. Yet despite all this, “Posty” has displayed a tough skin and his motivation has been left un-wavered to now release a debut album under the name Stoney.
The album artwork features the man himself, elbows down, heavily tatted hands brought together across his chin. He means business. This striking pose brings together his foregone impression, and radiates a genuine “fuck you, pay me” attitude to anyone that wants to stand in his way. Along with this, respect is also due for the encore appearance of his iconic White Iverson braids after undertaking so much fire from the industry and even accusations of “stealing black culture”, to call it a bold move would be an understatement. Brought together, these subtle touches of artistry prove to form a striking and informative album cover and certainly set in stone and authenticate his numerous claims of being an “artist”, as opposed to a simple “rapper”.
Broken Whiskey Glass is the first track, and along with the appearance of braids in the album art, Post shows us that as much as this album is about moving forward, it also stands testament to his past. Acoustic guitar and bird-calls feature at the start fused with Malone’s husky vocals the tune becomes strongly reminiscent of Johnny Cash and the Texan country music he owes so much of his musical knowledge and experience to. A strange cocktail begins to form as he gives reference to ACDC’s Highway to Hell and spilling drinks on his “damn Chanel”, but as a rhythm picks up and the heavy cadence produced by his guitar is layered by a thick bassline, the piece begins to increase rapidly in appeal. Although being lyrically bland in some places, any loss is made up for by unique and emotional tones leading us into the rest of the album.
As we are driven along the peaks and valleys of Stoney, Post’s artistic range becomes immediately apparent through his rapping in Big Lie and Feel, into the soaring vocals of I Fall Apart, and the ability to jump between the two fairly smoothly. The main downfall arrives with the highly anticipated Bieber feature in Déjà vu which falls far short of anything worth discussing due to it’s bland lyrics and irritatingly basic, housey vibes. On the upbeat, this only exalts Malone’s status higher in having one of the world’s biggest stars feature in the worst song on the album, developing a steep contrast between the two big-hitters.
Ultimately, the record stands as a solid showcase and foundation for Post’s talent as a singer and producer. If he can build on any of the work he has set down in Stoney, then we should expect more of his raw, drug-induced emotion at some point in the near future.