Post Malone’s popularity exploded back in 2017 when he dropped hits like “Congratulations” and “Rockstar.” This is also when his first-week streaming numbers for his album Beerbongs & Bentleys, proved that he was a force to be reckoned with in the music industry, and put him in the conversation with someone like Eminem.
They Sell A Lot of Records
A lot of his accomplishments, including having the third and fifth highest first-week streaming album numbers of all time were largely ignored by the general public, and the consensus is that Post is mostly just a hit-maker and not the money making machine that he’s arguably become.
His shows sell-out with his latest Runaway tour getting a second leg added to it, and his records are spun on just about every station; from urban to top 40.
Coincidentally, Post has the same crossover appeal and skin color of another artist who accomplished similar feats with his first four albums and a very legendary soundtrack back when I was in high school.
I’m talking about Eminem who sold physical copies of his records in the way the Post is now streaming. His second and third albums were certified diamond, and are two of the highest selling rap albums of all time. Like Post Malone, Eminem admittedly “used black culture” to make himself wealthy in songs like “Without Me.”
Musically, these artists are quite different, but both accurately represent their generation of hip-hop.
Comparing the Music
During Eminem’s rise, his peers were rappers like Jay-Z, Nas, and Ludacris who focused on making catchy songs with great rap flows and lyrics. The industry seemed to have a formula when it came to production, with three 16 bar verses coupled with a catchy hook that would make the fans never forget the song.
In Post’s day, rappers are encouraged to be melodic and sing out their verses thanks to the popularity of artists like Drake and Nicki Minaj who have married singing and rapping better than any of their predecessors.
If Eminem had been a new artist in Post’s era, it’s likely that we’d hear a lot more singing out of him, especially since he tried it when it wasn’t the popular thing with songs like “Hailie’s Song” on The Eminem Show in 2002.
And Post would be trying harder to be a lyricist if he had come out in 1999. Either way, they are both products of the market they debuted in, but are almost equally as successful.
Appropriating the Culture
Post clearly adopts 2010s hip-hop culture much like Eminem did in the early 2000s, with his face tats, lean and pill popping lyrics, and trap beats. Eminem died his hair blonde, but later sported du-rags, had production from Dr. Dre, and tampered with the gangsterisms of his day collaborating gloriously with signee 50 Cent.
Post Stands Above His White Peers
Post has managed to have more success than other white rappers in this era like MGK and Macklemore who emulate Eminem more than the current culture. He stays relevant and his music can be played alongside much of today’s popular artists like the Migos, 21 Savage, and Lil Uzi Vert. White rappers taking the more lyrical approach haven’t been able to amass the amount of mainstream success that Post has.
Eminem also had a different advantage, being that he was the only white rapper who was accepted in the culture at that time largely due to his affiliation with mentor Dr. Dre. However, there were still some white artists around back then in the underground who weren’t able to cut through like Marshal did.
They Both Seem to Love Ozzy Osborne
Both Eminem and Post Malone seem to have an affinity for Black Sabbath legend Ozzy Osborne. Eminem sampled Ozzy’s voice for “Going Through Changes” on “Recovery” in 2010 and Post Malone took it a step further and featured Ozzy on a song titled “Take What You Want” on his latest album.
They Are Introverts
Along with sales, skin color, musical taste, and cultural relevancy, both artists maintain a low profile not doing a lot of interviews and staying mostly out of the spotlight.
Where They Differ
Post has put his foot in his mouth a few times, especially when he downed hip-hop music during an interview in Poland while comparing it to rock. However, that didn’t hinder his career in ways it would have during Eminem’s era.
Eminem on the other hand, has shown great reverence to the culture that made him a millionaire and rarely ever was called out by the hip-hop community.
The two were even supposed to collaborate for Post’s latest album, but they weren’t able to get it done due to scheduling conflicts.
Eminem, to many hip-hop fans is one of the greatest lyricists to ever bless a mic. Post Malone on the other hand is a catchy song maker who utilizes auto-tune and amazing production to give his audience a vibe. Sure, he is certainly talented in his own right, but there isn’t one specific area where we can say Post is one of the greatest. At least not right now.
Post Malone certainly shares a lot of commonalities with Eminem, but is his impact strong enough to be a version of him for this generation? When he gets some more albums under his belt and maintains the level of relevancy that Eminem has been able to during the past 20 years, only then will it be easier to answer this question.