Justin Bieber warmup artist Post Malone grew up in North Texas and is behind one of the most addictive, hypnotic songs of the past year, "White Iverson."
With a new album on the way soon and cameos on tracks by 50 Cent and Kanye West, Post Malone (real name Austin Post) is saucin' and swaggin' his way to household-name status.
Here's what you need to know about the dude before that happens.
He came of age in a Cowboys home ...
Post's dad serves as the assistant director of food and beverage for the Dallas Cowboys, so since moving to Dallas about 10 years ago, the 20-year-old has enjoyed regular trips to games and other perks of being part of the Cowboys extended family. Post has credited his dad for getting him into hip-hop and many other styles of music, as well.
... but basketball was his true love
Even with a dad on the staff of America's Team, Post found that basketball captured more of his attention. He dreamed of being a world-class player as a kid. And while he's admitted in interviews that hoops didn't turn out to be a bankable athletic calling for him, the legends and lore of the game have greatly informed his music.
B-ball and braids inspired his breakout hit
One only needs to take a look at the lyrics for "White Iverson," the vibey hip-hop song that brought Post the fame and hype he's experiencing now, to know this is true. From its title honoring NBA star Allen Iverson to its verses name-dropping several other top players, the track is packed with basketball references. And the song — uploaded to Soundcloud a year ago and now designated a platinum single with sales of more than a million copies — works both as a self-affirmation mantra and a brag track, even if it's got a melancholy tone. Post wrote the song after getting his own hair braided in the style of Iverson.
His second hit went deeper
Where "White Iverson" established Post as an artist with a fresh take on braggadocio, he got a little more serious on the follow-up single "Too Young." It's a document of his increasingly crazy life and a statement about his desire to make a mark and become successful before it's all over. The chorus's vocal refrain also proves that the guy doesn't just simmer in his tracks — he soars on a few higher notes that evoke the pop of the '80s.
Trees gave him a hero's welcome
Post's first big show in Dallas after "White Iverson" took off happened at Trees back in May. It was sold out and afforded the young artist the kind of rousing homecoming reception about which up-and-comers daydream.
50 Cent is a big fan ...
"White Iverson" and "Too Young" didn't only impress hip-hop fans; Post started to get shout-outs and calls from some of the rap stars he idolized. 50 Cent invited him to do a guest verse on "Tryna F--- Me Over," and the laid-back song gave the young rapper a chance to flex about his fashion and smoke-filled lifestyle.
... so is Jay-Z ...
Oh, and Jay-Z took an early liking to Post's singles, too. Jay included "White Iverson" and "Too Young" on a 20-track personal playlist he shared on the Tidal service dubbed "F--- the Summer Up."
... and so is Kanye West
West might have given him the biggest hip-hop-idol boost of his career yet. After connecting with West in the studio last year, Post is featured prominently on "Fade," the final track of the just-released, and much-talked- about, Life of Pablo album. Over a driving house beat, Post chants for a few lines about the increasing pressures from the media and the music world.
He ain't just into hip-hop
If Post continues to stretch the genre boundaries of his recorded work, fans will see that he's adept at performing all kinds of music. A 2013 video of Post strumming his acoustic and singing Bob Dylan's "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right" has made the rounds on YouTube. His delivery is breathtaking. He also did a haunting version of Kanye West's "Heartless" during a BBC appearance.
March should be his biggest month yet
Post has reported to fans that his debut full-length album on Republic Records is coming in March. He also confirms that he'll be exploring folk, country and rock influences along with the hazy hip-hop that's gotten him to this point. Looks to be a wild ride, and it'll no doubt give his hometown fans something to chew on at this week's show.