While the majority of the silver-haired penny slot crowd in America’s Playground have likely never heard of him, the scraggly, tatt-faced rapper/singer/man bun-enthusiast known as Post Malone is arguably the biggest artist to come to Atlantic City this year. Since the release of his debut single, 2015’s “White Iverson,” Malone has become a phenomenon, racking up hit after hit on the pop charts and skyrocketing to fame in a music industry that seems determined to produce fewer and fewer true megastars. And at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11, Malone comes to Boardwalk Hall for a show that is easily the toughest ticket in town. For those less familiar, here are six things to know about Post Malone.
His first instrument was not actually an instrument.
Most musicians pick up an old guitar or a dusty set of drums to beat on when first attempting to learn to play, but Malone’s initial inspiration was the guitar-shaped video game controller that was used in Guitar Hero. Malone eventually traded up to the real thing, learning to play guitar and forming a heavy metal group before transitioning to other genres.
It’s tough to put him in a box.
Describing the music of Post Malone is easier said than done. While many of his most popular tracks lean heavily on hip-hop beats, at any time his vocals can (and will) flip back and forth from rap to wistful crooning, often set against an ethereal backdrop of new-age style synths and occasional acoustic guitars. Though he often plays up his hard partying ways in his lyrics, there is a darkness to his music that transcends traditional hip-hop braggadocio. “I’ve always had a loneliness. I’ve always been anxious,” he said in a November 2017 interview with Rolling Stone Magazine. “Big brain. Lot of thoughts.”
His look is anything but glamorous.
While the piles of pop star pinups and Tiger Beat darlings that precede him would suggest that one needs to have sculpted good looks in order to rise to the top in the entertainment industry, Malone is the reciprocal of that. Unkempt hair, outfits bearing more resemblance to pajamas than stage clothes and an ever growing collection of facial tattoos that seem better suited to an MS-13 gang member than anyone appearing at the Grammys are all key elements of his look. Malone seems keenly aware of how he comes off visually — in that same Rolling Stone piece he referenced his fans, saying “On Halloween, they came dressed up like me, which is easy: Just look homeless.”
He seems to have the Midas touch.
Malone’s rise to the top was anything but gradual. His debut single “White Iverson” was a literal overnight success, going viral in a matter of hours and racking up over 1 million views. His first album, 2016’s “Stoney” went Triple Platinum and stayed on Billboard’s Top R&B and Hip-Hop charts for 77 weeks, breaking a 34-year-old record held by Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” It’s follow up, 2018’s “beerbongs & bentleys,” shot straight to No.1, managed to break streaming records and was nominated for Album of the Year at the Grammys. His most recent release, 2019’s “Hollywood’s Bleeding” was just released in September and has also gone to No. 1. In total Malone has sold over 60 million albums in the U.S. alone.
His comments have caused a stir or two.
Being outspoken is hardly a rarity for stars in rock or hip-hop, but Malone has managed to get folks riled up in unique ways, occasionally turning his criticisms toward the lack of depth within his own genre. In a November 2017 interview with the Polish media outlet NewOnce, he was quoted as saying “If you’re looking to think about life, don’t listen to hip-hop.” Malone has also fired back at his critics within the hip-hop community, noting that his skin color makes him a target. In January 2018 in an interview with GQ magazine he said “There is a struggle being a white rapper.”
He loves to have friends over to play.
Like many other hip-hop and R&B artists, many of Malone’s biggest singles feature guest appearances from other rappers. Generally he leans toward hip-hop stars such as Young Thug and Ty Dolla $ign, but perhaps his most unexpected collaboration was with the Prince of Darkness, Ozzy Osbourne. Osbourne appears on the track “Take What You Want” off of “Hollywood’s Bleeding.” The song recently went to No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100, marking Osbourne’s first return to the Top 10 in 30 years and setting a new record for longest break between Top 10 hits in the chart’s history.