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Post Malone Opens Up About Identity Struggles and Using Tattoos to Hide His Face

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LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 24: Post Malone attends the 2019 American Music Awards at Microsoft Theater on November 24, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images)

Whether it's a new face tattoo depicting a bloody buzzsaw, throwing $50k worth of singles in the club in Miami or being the lead star in a Bud Light Super Bowl commercial, Post Malone always seems to find his way into the news.

In a new interview with GQ Style, Posty is making headlines again, this time opening up about struggling to find his identity, his overdue admiration toward hip-hop, mental health and his penchant for face tattoos.

Reflecting on his early artistry during high school, Post identified three popular hip-hop artists whom he idolized. “I so badly wanted to be like Mac [Miller] and Travis [Scott] and [A$AP] Rocky,” he admitted.

He wasn't the best rapper, though, so Post had to figure out how to leverage other skills – singing, playing guitar – to create his own style and voice. “Finding my own identity in the whole thing was—I don't want to say difficult, but it was a process for me,” he said.

He credits the late Mac Miller, an early supporter and friend, with helping him to open his eyes to non-hip-hop influences that could shape his own music.

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Even with all the inspiration Post has drawn from the hip-hop world, he's struggled to show due respect for the genre.

Kelefa Saneh, the writer of this piece, reminds us that in a 2017 interview with a Polish media outlet, Post scoffed at the ability of modern hip-hop to capture emotions like sadness and deep contemplation. "If you're looking to cry, if you're looking to think about life, you know, don't listen to hip-hop,” he said.

Now that he's a bit more mature, Post would like to make amends with the culture he's discredited, though he doesn't address the matter head-on. “I'm 24. It's time for me to give back and show appreciation and do whatever I can to show that I'm grateful to be able to do what I do,” he said.

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Charlamagne Tha God, the longtime co-host of the popular rap radio show The Breakfast Club, probably won't change his opinion on Post even if he does more to express his gratitude. He recently said hip-hop doesn't need the singer and called him a "fake Future."

Elsewhere in the interview, Post addresses his mental health and the theme of depression that runs through his catalog. “Middle school, I would cry myself to sleep every fuckin' day,” he revealed. “I'm fuckin' crazy. And it has exacerbated over the past years, since Stoney.

Post also sympathizes with peers – Lil Peep, Mac Miller and Juice WRLD – who have passed from drug overdoses after attempting to cope with emotional disturbances through self-medication. “That could have been me,” Post said. But he reassures fans that he doesn't consume anything stronger than alcohol these days.

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No Post interview would be complete without mention of his face tattoos, which have taken on a life of their own in recent months. Here, he addresses the reasoning behind them in a way we haven't heard before.

“I'm a ugly-ass motherfucker,” he said. “It does maybe come from a place of insecurity, to where I don't like how I look, so I'm going to put something cool on there so I can look at myself and say, ‘You look cool, kid,’ and have a modicum of self-confidence, when it comes to my appearance.”

While the barbed wire across his forehead makes Post stand out in a crowd, it sounds like he often battles with the very mutual rollercoaster that is self-esteem. Maybe face tattoos are really the next great form of therapy.