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

Mahlik Campbell

entertainment /
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.

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.

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.

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.