At only 19 years old, singer-rapper Post Malone exploded onto the hip-hop music scene in February 2015 with the release of his smash-hit single, “White Iverson,” which racked up more than a million plays the same month it was uploaded onto his Soundcloud account. Only several months into his music career, Malone accomplished what countless kids making beats on FL Studio dream of.
No one could’ve expected the success that would follow Malone — not even Malone himself.
With such an impressive ability to balance rap and melody from the inception of his career, it seems as if the slick-talking community college dropout from Dallas has perfected the same painful rap-singing style that has popularized hip-hop’s hottest performers such as Drake, Future and PartyNextDoor.
As he navigates a genre that values authenticity above all, Malone remains an anomaly. Unlike other widely successful white rappers such as Eminem or Macklemore, Malone isn’t coming up with deep or even shocking content, nor is he rapping about some sort of struggle that serves as a rite of passage to earn street cred. Malone is simply a 21-year-old white boy rapping shallow lyrics about fucking bitches and counting stacks over polished beats, and he still earns a No. 1 spot atop Billboard’s Top Rap album chart.
The only problem with this all is: He’s probably a fraud.
In roughly a year, Malone — real name Austin Post — went from making Minecraft tutorial videos and covering acoustic pop songs with his friends to rocking braids and gold teeth while rapping with a distinct ghetto “twang,” an accent he plays with in some interviews. Many of the videos from his past life have since been deleted, only adding to the suspicion that Malone is an industry plant.
Malone’s success story is remarkable — so remarkable that it tiptoes into being unbelievable. Only months after moving into Los Angeles, Malone met FKi, a production team consisting of Trocon “1st Down” Roberts, Jr. and Steven “Sauce Lord Rich” Bolden, through mutual friends. While it’s possible that the Dallas teenager had connections in L.A. that landed him opportunities with a production team credited for producing bangers by 2 Chainz, Tyga, Wiz Khalifa and Travis Scott, it certainly makes all his credit for producing a smash hit first single a little less impressive.
Iggy Azalea went from being everyone’s favorite big booty rapper from Down Under to the world’s most hated pop star when music from her failed attempts at gaining fame re-emerged while she tackled accusations of cultural appropriation and racism in her older tweets. Azalea receives loads of criticism for being a manufactured pop-star with no sense of what it means to be black, though the role of her race doesn’t necessarily affect the quality of her music.
Malone, on the other hand, has had footage of him using the n-word quickly swept under the rug, while footage of his pre-fame musical projects have barely made a splash in the media.
Whether or not you believe Post Malone is a fraud is up to you. And to give him credit, his debut album, Stoney, isn’t full of references to run-ups or hustling — but it also isn’t filled with many compelling lyrics outside his ability to ball. And in a genre like hip-hop, where sayings like “real recognize real” flourish, it casts some doubt on Malone’s status as one of the best up-and-coming rappers.