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Stoney

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Label: Republic
Artist: Post Malone

Review

On Post Malone's studio debut Stoney, the Dallas-raised musician with gold grills and braids sing-raps his way through an album's worth of woozy R&B-inflected hip-hop. As a fan of rap and its associated culture, Post delivers with moderate respect, careful not to toe the precarious line over which others like Iggy Azalea and Riff Raff have stumbled. Although he plays guitar and is influenced by Tim McGraw as much as Kanye West, Stoney is mostly devoid of that country twang, save for some outlaw grit on "Broken Whiskey Glass" and faint strumming on "Go Flex" (bonus track "Leave" actually captures his true cross-genre nature best). Mostly, that part of his background only comes through when he chooses to sing. Those tracks -- notably "No Option" and "I Fall Apart" -- work best, featuring strong vocals that quiver when he pushes it to the limit. Guest vocalists and producers like Kehlani ("Feel"), River Tiber ("Cold"), Pharrell Williams ("Up There"), and Quavo and Metro Boomin ("Congratulations") bolster Stoney with both atmosphere and credibility, while tourmate Justin Bieber increases the star power on the sweet "Cha-Cha"/"Hotline Bling"-esque "Deja Vu." On the aptly titled Stoney, Post Malone provides an appropriate soundtrack for a certain type of recreational rest and relaxation. ~ Neil Z. Yeung