Since the release of “White Iverson” in 2015, Post Malone’s rise to fame was a relatively short journey. Three years later and Malone has already released his sophomore album, beerbongs & bentleys on Friday, April 27. The 18-track LP is already topping charts with his catchy hooks and relatable lyrics.
At first glance, beerbongs & bentleys doesn’t show much growth since Malone’s first album Stoney, which was incredibly successful commercially, but critiqued heavily for its simplicity. After some closer listening, it’s clear that Malone didn’t completely brush off all of those critiques. With more complex beats and a wide range of genre influences, beerbongs & bentleys demonstrates a lot of growth for Malone. It’s musically diverse, drawing influence from rap, pop, and indie rock, which are all tied together with the constant presence of Malone’s soulful voice.
While Malone has been able to internalize musical critiques and grow in that department, his personal maturity is still lacking. He is a part of an industry rooted in black culture, and in the past has faced several accusations of cultural appropriation. He addresses some of these concerns on this album, but he doesn’t do so in particularly graceful fashion. On “Over Now,” he declares, “Won’t apologize, don’t give a fuck if you offended.”
The thing that has always distinguished Post Malone from other rappers, though, is his ability to use a combination of genre influences and vulnerability in his hip hop. Malone seems to know he is nowhere near the best in the game with his rapping, and he is shown up by all of the features on this album. In particular, Nicki Minaj absolutely dominates “Ball For Me.” But, he doesn’t need to be the best; he just needs to be good at doing something different. The stark contrast between his gruff exterior and vulnerable music is perhaps the most interesting thing about Post Malone. He is a prime example of how you can’t judge a book by its cover.
The vulnerability in the lyrics doesn’t always evoke a whole lot of sympathy and the album is heavily inundated with a “I do drugs, I have money and I’m sad” theme. The chorus of “Rich & Sad” (a title that literally encompasses this idea) breaks this down in the chorus with “I just keep on wishing that the money made you stay.” While his lyricism isn’t exactly poetic (“Spoil My Night” boasts, “I ain’t even seen the face but she got beautiful boobies – wow!”), no one can deny that Malone knows his way around a hook. It is impossible to hear his songs without singing them a couple days later. All in all, Malone is no lyrical prodigy, but he’s an interesting guy who knows how to make a chart-topper.
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Post Malone’s “beerbongs & bentleys” Album Review. Featured image credit: Republic Records