beerbongs & bentleys
In 2018, no one could tell Austin Post what to do. The cloud-rap-rock imprimatur and irreverent frat boy persona the Texas-reared singer had cultivated since his initial monolithic breakthrough, the 2015 featherweight trap anthem “White Iverson,” had already drawn in millions of listeners across the world. Singles like the celebratory, Quavo-assisted “Congratulations” solidified his status as a hit maker, with cosigns and collaborators from across pop and rap. beerbongs & bentleys, Post’s sophomore release after his 2016 Top 5 album Stoney, was positioned to not just be a chart juggernaut but his first auteur statement—done on the highest scale and fully on his own terms. Outfitted with guest spots from some of 2010s hip-hop’s most celebrated names—Nicki Minaj, YG, Ty Dolla $ign—beerbongs & bentleys is an extensive project that relies on Post’s characteristic dichotomy of stylistic playfulness and ruminations on substance abuse and heartbreak. It feels unfettered and confident, with a greater cohesiveness than his previous recordings, gaining him—for the first time—some critical respect. Opening track “Paranoid” launches the listener immediately into a world where every struggle assumes an equal weight, bemoaned earnestly in Post’s plaintive croon. In his delivery, an image of sitting up at night with a gun, fearing for his life, feels as trenchant as his descriptions of granular fallouts of a breakup on “Better Now” (“You’re not even speaking to my friends, no/You knew all my uncles and my aunts, though”). Post didn’t necessarily need a smash to build his crossover audience, but beerbongs & bentleys yielded several, including the No. 1 “Psycho” with Ty Dolla Sign, built on one of Post’s most unabashed singsong earworms. Meanwhile, the uncanny trap creeper “rockstar,” assisted by 21 Savage, not only topped the charts but broke industry records. The muted, lightly gothic track about the depths of celebrity excess might initially have seemed a strange pick for one of the highest-streaming songs of the early 21st century. However, its hook, hedonistic attitude, and the sly interplay between the two rising stars made it an inescapable banger writ large.