February 12, 2015


Max Bell once owned an Iverson du-rag.

The words ‘post Spooky Black’ are ridiculous. But there they are. Here we are. It’s 2015. Another pallid crooner seemingly unconcerned with cultural appropriation has emerged. He’s from Dallas and looks like Riff Raff’s hirsute Tumblr bred cousin. Less neon, more ripped denim and dead-eyed photos. The braids, of course, remain braided. His name is Post Malone. He’s never heard of Jason Williams.

Malone’s “White Iverson” has racked up nearly 200k plays in less than a week. Blogs have been quick to post and proclaim ascendance, to literally call it “a hit”. Here we are, in 2015.

As most have noted, Dej Loaf is the obvious comparison. The influence of her warbling cadence is undeniable. Beyond that, I’d guess Malone is a Makonnen fan. The lyrics shuttle from Iverson cliff notes—his nicknames, his disdain for practice, and the fact that he never won a ring—to free associative references to OT Genasis and all NBA players on his fantasy team. Drake will probably debate hopping on remix between lint rolls at the dunk contest this weekend.

The beat from FKi isn’t inventive, but it synthesizes the minimalism and swirling atmospherics of trap&b well. The hi-hats are in trap triplet, the 808s are built to break your MacBook, and the plinking keys do just that.

Above all, “White Iverson” is as catchy as it is confident in its formula: nostalgia for the not so distant past coupled with the contemporary. Iverson and Harden (and KD and Anthony Davis) co-exist. Trap&b meets ‘90s R&B ballad. Sauce and swag are the same but different. Or something. It works because the lists on your RSS feed say so.

At this point, there’s no telling whether “White Iverson” will actually be a hit, whether Post Malone will blow up, or whether his name is a not-so-veiled reference to the forever ring-less Karl Malone. For now, his acoustic covers of The Weeknd and Bob Dylan covers suggest anything is possible. There’s talk of a project due out in May and he’s ostensibly in L.A. Because the Internet, no one has to watch from the nosebleeds. Iverson only won once when he played here during the 2001 NBA Finals, but who’s counting?

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