Post Malone’s “Rockstar” shot to No. 1 on Billboard’s Streaming Songs Chart last week, but the rapper has also made headlines recently for covering rock staples like Nirvana and Green Day.
It’s no secret that the 22-year-old’s love for classic rock, country and folk runs deep—just look at his debut studio album Stoney. The LP is definitely a hip-hop album, but its tracks drop hints at Malone’s many other genre interests.
Recorded when he was 18-years-old (and still going by his given name Austin Richard Post), Malone masterfully covers Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right,” slowing the song down for a soulful yet melancholy performance. This cover shows that Malone isn’t just a rapper who occasionally sings, but rather a multi-talented musician capable of a wide variety of reinventions.
Being Malone’s most recent cover, within the first few seconds it’s increasingly clear that he has no intention of playing a note-perfect rendition of Green Day’s 1994 smash hit “Basket Case.” But Malone takes the song and makes it his own, which is what makes him such a multifaceted artist. Billie Joe Armstrong even reacted to the cover on Twitter saying, “Hey this is pretty cool!”
Covering Nirvana is a risky move, but Malone nails both the soft and loud vocal dynamics of “All Apologies” that Kurt Cobain is known for. Malone effortlessly increases the bleating in the song’s chorus without sacrificing the track’s musicality. He also tackles the tricky riff with complete ease, doing justice to Nirvana’s memorable MTV Unplugged in New York performance.
In an Instagram Live stream, Malone offers a brief snippet of Bon Jovi’s 1986 anthem “Wanted Death or Alive” (starting at 3:45). The cover is short and alluring, but he makes his mastery of the guitar instantly known with his smooth performance of the iconic intro. Malone’s voice emulates Jovi’s soulful growl, and he even throws in some playful ad-libbing with the lyrics, changing, “And I’m wanted dead or alive” to “And I love me some Bon Jovi!”
Kanye West’s 808s and Heartbreak is a timeless LP when it comes to songs about sadness and betrayal. With that in mind, it seems fitting that Malone reworked the album’s most cathartic single into a sharp acoustic melody. The result is chilling, yet beautiful, as Malone’s raspy vibrato transitions the song into an entirely new track.
Not actually a full cover, but Post Malone’s “Hollywood Dreams/Comedown” offers listeners a momentary glimpse at what a full Fleetwood Mac cover from him would sound like. His execution is beautiful and really showcases his musical range.