Post Malone may have rocketed into the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 with woozy trap anthems “Congratulations” and “Rockstar,” but the rapper has also made recent headlines for covering ‘90s rock staples from Nirvana and Green Day in concert.
Malone’s love for classic rock, country and folk runs deep: he even auditioned for Dallas metalcore band Crown the Empire in high school. Clearly, that didn’t work out, but the 22-year-old MC has still proven his diverse repertoire and impressive guitar skills over the years with a series of covers, and we’ve rounded them up here.
Check out Post Malone’s six best covers below.
6. Frank Sinatra – “Fly Me to the Moon”
Who’s that child wearing a gold chain and collared shirt buttoned all the way to the top? It’s Austin Richard Post, as he was known before he stormed the Billboard charts and opened for Justin Bieber on tour, crashing his friends’ Minecraft live stream. The gang sings along with Post’s unassuming Frank Sinatra ode, occasionally interrupting to crack jokes for the audience. Little did their audience know they were watching a star in the making.
5. Bon Jovi – “Wanted Dead or Alive”
Malone offers a tantalizingly brief snippet of Bon Jovi’s 1986 anthem during an Instagram Live session, but he makes his mastery of the six-string immediately apparent by smoothly fingerpicking the song’s iconic intro.
He faithfully approximates Jon Bon Jovi’s arena-ready growl too, but Post knows that covering “Wanted” in 2017 — even on Instagram Live — is about as cool as playing “Stairway to Heaven” in Guitar Center. So he rags on himself with some tasteful ad-libbing: “And I’m wanted dead or alive” becomes “And I love me some Bon Jovi!” Don’t worry, Post, we can tell. (The cover starts at 3:45.)
4. Green Day – “Basket Case”
It’s obvious Malone has no interest in playing a note-perfect rendition of Green Day’s 1994 smash; he just wanted to blow off steam mid-concert. Green Day’s simple, impossibly catchy chord progressions lend themselves to acoustic covers, and Post is just doing what countless disenfranchised teenagers before him have done at campfires around the world. Props for nailing Billie Joe Armstrong’s signature slurred delivery: “Am I just paranoid?/ Well ah-dah-dahhhh!”
3. Kanye West – “Heartless”
Kanye West explored timeless themes of heartache and betrayal on 808s and Heartbreak, effectively writing a mid-2000s emo manifesto and glossing it up with digital drums and chilly synthesizers. It’s fitting, then, that Malone would rework the album’s most cathartic single, “Heartless,” into a piercing acoustic dirge. Say what you will about his bleating vibrato, but Malone does with just his voice what West needed layers of Auto-Tune to accomplish.
2. Nirvana – “All Apologies”
Covering Nirvana is a bold move, one that often makes the most seasoned pop stars sound like third-rate karaoke singers. But Malone nails the soft/loud vocal dynamics that Kurt Cobain helped pioneer in the early ‘90s, effortlessly bumping up the rasp in the song’s chorus without sacrificing its aching melody. He also tackles the deceptively tricky main riff with ease, doing justice to Nirvana’s landmark MTV Unplugged in New York performance of the song.
1. Bob Dylan – “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right”
Post Malone might not seem the most obvious choice to assume the mantle of folk hero Bob Dylan, but his “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” cover proves he’s more than qualified to do so. Recorded when he was just 18 (and still going by Austin), Malone masterfully fingerpicks this number from The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, slowing it down slightly for greater emotional impact and giving an astoundingly plaintive vocal performance. “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” demonstrates that Malone isn’t just a rapper who occasionally sings or plays guitar; he’s a genuinely multitalented musician, capable of multiple reinventions.