There’s a particular subgenre of Rap that emerged only a few years ago, one variously termed by different people as “Hook Artists”, “Cloud Rap”, or (for those who refuse to accept it as a legitimate genre) “Mumble Rap”. It is marked by an emphasis on vocal melody and atmosphere over lyrical content, and is thus widely disliked by more traditional Rap fans who resent it for not following the values they associate with the word “Rap”. Post Malone is particularly disliked by that contingent, partly (let’s be honest) simply because he’s white, and partly because he blends this genre with acoustic Pop-Folk, another genre that the same demographic tends to irrationally despise. This combination has been tried before, as in the early work of Jason Mraz. But Mraz was trying to fuse Pop-Folk with traditional Rap, which made for an interesting but somewhat awkward fit. The Hook Artist/Cloud Rap subgenre is much more suited to that kind of combination, as the elements it emphasizes are essentially the same as those emphasized by an acoustic guitar ballad. And contrary to anything you might have heard, this song is gorgeous, with some of the gentlest, most flowing vocal melody in modern Pop music floating over a plush instrumental cushion of sound. We haven’t heard “Cloud Rap” this lush and melodious since the ballads on Future’s Honest album back in 2014. I will admit that the “Hook Artist” genre, like any genre, has its hierarchies, and there are some people who do it badly (Desiigner comes to mind), but Post Malone is definitely not one of them.
Verdict: This is absolutely beautiful, and it genuinely confuses me how anyone could fail to appreciate it.