December 8th, 2016, ended up being a pretty big day for hip-hop. Like massive. It is the day that will ruin many album of the year lists as Ab Soul, J Cole, and Post Malone all dropped new projects. For Austin Post however, it was his official debut album. Not only will this be a heavy indicator of his success and growth, but it will show us if he can really hang with the big boys. Stoney has Post doing what he does best; which is a little bit of everything. The album is a melting pot of rap, folk, R&B, and rock. From August 26th we learned Post is a man of many genres and on Stoney he finds a more polished sound.
The album holds 18 tracks with only four features, making for a large debut. It’s important to note that we actually got a chance to hear 8 of the 18 already, with “Deja Vu,” “Patient,” “Leave,” and “Congratulations” being singles, and “Go Flex,” “Too Young,” “Money Made Me Do It,” and the smash hit “White Iverson” being previous releases. It can be disappointing to hit up a new album when we’ve heard almost half the songs but Post saved most of the best tracks for the big release. You really can’t blame him for putting some of the previous releases on the album. People loved them; some of them were among the hottest tracks of 2015 and 2016. They all have a cohesive fit, so there’s a chance this was Post’s plan all along. Even still, it would have been nice to see more material that we haven’t seen yet.
Among the singles, the Quavo assisted “Congratulations” and “Leave” were the best two. Quavo knocks his verse out of the park as usual and this is another vintage Post turn-up jam. Seriously. Posty makes a lot of smashes. “Leave” has such an enticing opening that it’s hard not to vibe out to it. This is Post having his best rocker moment; hitting deep emotions on a track that is so surprisingly good it wouldn’t even be shocking for Post to do a whole alternative rock album. Easily one of the best cuts from the album.
She said, “Love me,” so I love her / She said “Leave me,” so I left / Then I went to California / And I ain’t never coming back
Stoney sounds incredibly smooth from top to bottom. Each track was crafted in such a way that they roll into each other effortlessly. Post has created a lush compilation on his first album, which is a good sign for his ability to curate sound. The opener, “Broken Whiskey Glass,” is the perfect representation of the album. You get Post stepping out with his singing and other influences when he comes in the second half with a more hip-hop attitude. Consistently good production keeps the album entertaining. From heavy bass, to violins, to soft guitar. The album has a little bit of everything and it’s exciting to hear what’s coming each track. At times Post comes back to what is probably his safe place, that being the party type anthems which is rather unfortunate. After a full listen you realize he doesn’t need those to fall back on.
Pushing the limits
Post is at his best on Stoney when he steps foot in territory that not all rappers are willing to go. People talk about Lil Yachty an Lil Uzi Vert being this new wave of hip-hop when Post Malone in reality is the true game changer. This man has become a genre-bending wizard. “I Fall Apart” is an emotionally charged track, where Post sings his heart out for one of the best efforts on the album. Lyrically, Post isn’t afraid to let his vulnerability show. It’s nice to see when you compare it to the “I’m so hard” hip-hop facade. The closing track, “Feeling Whitney” is an absolute sucker punch. I didn’t know Post had this in him. Most of you probably wouldn’t associate the term beautiful with a Post Malone song but damn. This track is so beautiful. It’s the perfect closing credits.
Post Malone is your favorite rapper with a guitar. No one else has ever toed the line of rapper, rock star, and folk singer better. (Sorry Kid Rock fans.) Stoney is surprisingly very good, not as good as it could be but makes its case nonetheless. While a few tracks seem predictable, the highlights were pleasant surprises that revealed flashes of the full talent he has. If you weren’t sure about him as a superstar, Stoney shouldn’t leave any doubts about that. Post is on track to become the most versatile artist in hip-hop and that bodes well for his future.
While Stoney could go overlooked with the releases on December 8th, that doesn’t mean it isn’t a bright spot. You could call it a diamond in the rough; because Post Malone won’t let anything stop his shine.