Post Malone’s new album beerbongs & bentleys is refreshing for people who are tired of indistinguishable songs and recycled lines in hip-hop. Most rappers and hip-hop artists would shy away from dropping references to early 2000 Disney shows and bands, much less name a song after one. Comparing your life to twin 7-year-old boys doesn’t necessarily boost the image most rappers try to create, but Post Malone managed to come off cool and clever with his reference to The Suite Life of Zack and Cody in his song “Zack and Codeine.”
Even though only a certain demographic relates to these cultural references, those who understood it went wild. Fans fixated on how these comparisons step out cliches rappers commonly overuse. That’s why they love when he phrases his brothers as “Jonas” in his song “Over Now,” or how he “loves paper like [he’s Michael Scott]” in “Candy Paint”; it’s different and it’s stimulating.
Add the gentle, bouncy beats to the lyrics and naturally, beerbongs & bentleys tops the chart as a No. 1 album on the Billboard 200. Two of his singles, “rockstar” (featuring 21 Savage) and “Psycho” (featuring Ty Dolla $ign) topping the US Billboard Hot 100, it’s safe to say he achieved his goal.
With 18 songs on the album, similar-sounding tracks would get old fast. Post Malone prides himself on versatility, from laid-back hip-hop to stripped-down ballads such as “Stay,” where the artist details heartbreak with his ex-girlfriend Ashlen Nicole Diaz.
In an interview, Post Malone said how he doesn’t want to be known as a rapper or a hip-hop artist, though many of his songs fall under that category. He wants the freedom to explore any type of his music he wants. The constant shift between tone and music style in beerbongs & bentleys allows the listener to be entertained for hours.
The best part of the album, however, is that it reflects Post Malone honestly. At first glance, many of these songs seem to stand on their own; after all, some are about partying, some are about heartbreak, some are about the paranoia of fame. In “Better Now,” he calls his ex-girlfriend the “love of his life,” but contrasts it with wishing her the worst in “Over Now.” It’s a brainspill of Post Malone’s current experiences.
Few things about Post Malone are conventional. He began his career after an obsession with Guitar Hero, and recently tattooed the words “Very Tired” under his eyes, after all. That’s why he’s able to elude a label as a hip-hop artist and the reason why his album is so dynamic. The show at the Shoreline will sure to be just like that- a series of pleasant surprises.
Post Malone and 21 Savage, Sunday, June 24, 7 p.m., at Shoreline Amphitheatre, $107-$166; tickets.