Post Malone on the Early Success of 'Rockstar': 'I Just Want to Keep Kicking Ass'
When Post Malone first entered the rap game, he was considered an anomaly. His eclectic taste in music and affinity for Bob Dylan and Green Day made him stick out like a sore thumb. In addition, he didn't sport any gaudy jewelry, had wild long hair that ran down his shoulders, and of course, was a white rapper. For many hip-hop aficionados, that combo would be enough to stifle one's career.
While hip-hop isn't as divisive as it once was, Malone knew he needed to show and prove. In 2015, he sculpted an inescapable record dubbed "White Iverson." The track, which pays homage to NBA legend Allen Iverson, crescendoed into the Top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at No. 14, and the track's muse even praised Malone for his catchy earworm. Fast track to his next single, "Congratulations" (featuring Quavo) -- which broke the Hot 100's top 10 in July, currently in its 39th week on the chart -- and Malone quickly etched himself a lane as a bonafide hitmaker.
Aside from the singles, Post Malone's debut album, Stoney, cemented his placement in hip-hop and earned platinum status last April, a feat which has proven to be elusive for many artists in music. With one platinum album and a slew of hits in tow, Malone ventured back into the studio to meticulously craft album number two. The result? His slow-burning single, "Rockstar," featuring 21 Savage.
Further proving his hitmaker status, Post Malone's latest release debuted at No. 2 on the Hot 100 (falling second to Cardi B's "Bodak Yellow,"), amassing 80,000 downloads on the Billboard Digital Songs Chart and making it the top digital record during its opening week. Moreover, "Rockstar" shattered Apple Music’s single week streaming record with over 25 million streams. Despite being labeled an anomaly, Malone has learned to be comfortable in his own skin by swatting his detractors with mesmerizing records.
Billboard caught up with Post Malone to talk "Rockstar" and its instant success, the creation of his latest record, meeting Mr. Allen Iverson in the flesh, and his goal of being one of the best artists in the world.
First off, what were you thinking with that stage dive last weekend, man?
[Laughs] I guess I wasn't, huh? You know, I had a couple of beers and I'm kind of a big guy. You know, we redeemed ourselves the next night, but I don't really know what I was thinking. I guess I was trying to be cool, but it didn't really work.
Ironically, your latest single is called "Rockstar" and that did work -- what was your initial reaction when you first heard that the song debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100?
You know, it's kind of crazy, it's kind of mind-blowing. That's the highest I've ever been up there. You know, I wanted No. 1, but I guess Cardi B is dope too [Laughs]. She's super sweet and super dope, but you know, hopefully we'll have it -- and we also broke an Apple streaming record, which is super dope. I'm so thankful that people still like me.
Why are you worried about people still liking you considering you're coming off a successful album with Stoney and you've had very strong singles with "White Iverson" and "Congratulations?"
I guess as an artist, it's never really enough. You always wanna strive to get bigger and better and push the limits of what you can actually do. I guess I just want to keep on growing and one day be the biggest artist in the world, and just do my best to put out the best music that I can. The Apple streaming record actually really surprised me, so I'm hoping for the next one, I can beat my own record. I just want to keep kicking ass, man. There's a lot of pressure to make the best music and I just want to make music that I can relate to and that my fans can relate to at the same time.
How much confidence do you have right now in yourself and your career after the success that you've been able to attain?
There's confidence. There's also the fear of putting out a bad song and everybody getting a lot hate from it. You know, I guess it's kind of a thin line between being confident in your music and who you are and not taking advantage of it and not going to far with it and still knowing that there's fans out there that are still waiting for new music and fans that are waiting for you to really push the boundaries of what modern music is. I just really want to keep putting out music.
How did "Rockstar" come together?
I was in New York, and we were at Quad Studios. Some kid came in, and I guess he was in the session next door and he was like, "Hey? Can I play you some beats?" I'm like, "I guess so." You know, I'm a nice guy, I like music. I'll listen to your beats. He played the beat and it was incredible. His name is Tank. He's a really young guy, and a really talented producer. So we did that, and Joey Bada$$ was in there. We were just vibing on it and the melody was sick. We just cut like a little scratch vocal and we took it back to LA. I finished my part and sent it off to  Savage -- and there it is.
What made 21 Savage the perfect piece for that puzzle?
I feel like he has a lot of attitude. You know, he's really got his own lane and he really doesn't care about anything, so I figured that embodied it perfectly. He snapped on the record, and I don't think it could have came out any better.
What has been the crowd's reaction to when you've performed "Rockstar" this early on after its release?
Ah, well I fell. [Laughs] You know, it's been very good. Everybody gets turnt up. I like to break a lot of stuff on stage. I already broke my stage. There's a bunch of tables and chairs on stage and I already broke them all, so I need to go get some new ones, but it's a lot of fun. It's a lot of high energy and then we just knock out all the hits. We have a lot of fun, man. My shows have been going really great and I've been having a great time. I couldn't ask for any better fans, man.
You've proven to have an eclectic taste in music. You've covered tracks by Green Day, Kanye West and Frank Sinatra. How have you been able to maintain your love and taste for music and not just hip-hop?
I feel like it's really just like when I was younger. You know, my dad put me on everything. From metal to hip-hop, and my mom put me on country. I think it's just important to remember that music in my brain is not one genre and I don't think it should be put into genres. I think you should listen to what you like and who cares what genre it is. If you like it, then rock with it. I think that's important and that's one of my biggest goals by the end of my music career, to have push the boundaries and help blur the lines of what the genres of today are.
A couple of months back, you were able to hang out with Allen Iverson. How was that experience?
Yeah man. It was nuts. My manager goes, "Hey, you wanna meet Allen?" I'm like, "Hell yeah I wanna meet Allen." So we just went up to some house up in the Hills -- we had a couple glasses of champagne and we just kicked it for a little bit. It was a dream come true, just to see that he actually liked the song. He said his kids loved it and everybody loves it, so that meant the world to me that I had his blessings.
You know A.I. used to rap. You should have asked him for a quick verse for a remix.
[Laughs] He said he wanted Jadakiss on the remix, so we'd have to work on that.
Would it be you, him, and Jada?
I don't know. I gotta see if he's down with it first. We'll figure it out, though. He had some bars, man.
Him and Jada used to go back and forth in the Reebok commercials.
Those were hard. Those were some of the dopest commercials of all-time.
What's the update on Beerpongs & Bentleys?
I think it's going to be better than Stoney. I think it's going to be more eclectic than Stoney. I think it's going to be a big record with a lot of unique music, that a lot of people would expect. There's a lot of dope stuff going on and it's almost done. I just have to finalize some things while I'm in LA and hopefully we'll have it out before the end of the year.
Anything can we anticipate feature-wise?
We got Tommy Lee on drums on one of the songs from Motley Crue. We got Ty Dolla $ign. There's a lot of special stuff on there, but that's all I'll give you right now. There's a lot of super special stuff on there.
What chances did you take musically on Beerpongs & Bentleys that you didn't take on Stoney?
There's a lot of stuff on there. I played more guitar on the record. I got some live drums on the record. It's such a broad span of music and I think it all comes together in such a weird perfect way that I think it's going to be one of the best records of the year.