Can Post Malone turn sauce into stamina?
That's the question facing the 21-year-old graduate of Grapevine High School as he releases his debut album, Stoney, on Friday, Dec. 9. The singer-rapper already has plenty of money, famous friends and sauce -- i.e., coolness and confidence, to borrow a term he helped popularize in his 2015 hit "White Iverson."
Now he's about to find out if he's got staying power, too -- or if he's just another flash-in-the-pan white hip-hop star.
Stoney, which is short for "Stoney Maloney," his old nickname, features production work on one song by Pharrell Williams, guest spots by fast-rising stars like Kehlani, and a duet with Justin Bieber, who likes Post so much he hired him as an opening act for his arena tour earlier this year.
But the singer-rapper born Austin Post says the album's sound is all his own and reflects the varied influences he soaked up while living in Dallas-Fort Worth.
"The people, the sound, the whole vibe has definitely turned me into the artist I am musically," he says by email from Europe, where he's on tour.
"You know, when you mix the hip-hop side of Texas with the country and add a guitar, some grills, and maybe a rhinestone suit ... you'll get where I'm coming from. My dad was a big influence with rock, rap and country, so it shows for sure."
Born in Syracuse, New York, he moved at age 10 to Grapevine after his father, Rich Post, got a job in concessions with the Dallas Cowboys.
His dad, a former wedding DJ, passed along his wide-ranging love of music and schooled his son in everything from Tupac to Metallica to Merle Haggard.
The younger Post's prowess at Guitar Hero led him to pick up an acoustic guitar, and before long, he was playing in bands and performing solo shows at Napoli's Italian Cafe in downtown Grapevine. After graduating from Grapevine High School, he enrolled in Tarrant County College but dropped out after a few months and moved to L.A., where he met the producer duo FKi.
Under FKi's tutelage, he crafted "White Iverson," a tale of braggadocio inspired by Allen Iverson, the short-but-lightning-quick NBA star. Fueled by Post's tender, boyish crooning, the tune went viral, leading to a contract with Republic Records, which officially released the song in August 2015.
"White Iverson" was a major hit, eventually racking up 3 million sales in the U.S. and a mind-boggling 226 million views on YouTube.
Before long, Kanye West and 50 Cent came calling, and Post wound up singing on Yeezy's "Fade" and Fiddy's "Tryna (Expletive) Me Over."
Meanwhile, he was eagerly trying to complete his own album. In May, he released a mixtape titled August 26, the planned release date for Stoney. Now, after several delays, his debut album is finally done. It's an 18-song opus made up of new songs and previously released singles like "White Iverson," "Go Flex," "Too Young," and the Bieber duet "Déjà Vu."
Post says he didn't have any one goal, style, or sound in mind when he was making Stoney.
"It's just really a full culmination of my work for the past year or so," he says. "I'm just trying to have fun and play the music that I love and that I listen to. That's why you get such a mixed vibe when you play the album."
Although his singing and guitar-playing sets him apart in hip-hop, Post Malone does his best to look like a rapper with his cornrows, grills and bling. As a lyricist, he peppers his songs with the same generic smack talk against women that's practically a prerequisite in hip-hop.
But as a white guy who grew up in a Grapevine subdivision, he runs the risk of being labeled a poseur along the lines of former Carrollton resident Robbie Van Winkle, a.k.a. Vanilla Ice.
Post, however, doesn't waste much time worrying about how he's perceived.
"People may think I'm trying to be something or someone, but really, I'm just being me," he says. "It's just Posty, man. I'm just having fun doing what I love and giving y'all a piece of my life through this music."