Will the real Post Malone please stand up?

Post Malone is battling image issues after XXL's editor-in-chief Vanessa Satten stated that the man behind "White Iverson" didn’t make XXL's 2016 Freshman cover because he was focusing on rock and country.

After outcry from hip-hop fans who believed he only used rap music as a stepping stone to his other interests, Malone posted a lengthy explanation on Instagram.

“My love of music shouldn’t ever be questioned. I shouldn’t be chastised for expressing myself in whichever way I see fit,” he wrote. “That being said, I never have once said that ‘I’m not going to make hip hop anymore.’ I have a hip hop album coming out in August. I made a HIP HOP mixtape promoting my HIP HOP album.”

So why did I turn down the Freshman cover?

“I didn’t want to do the cover because I was tired and didn’t want to take the 6 hour flight to NY,” he said. “From the horses mouth, no he said/she said. If you don’t like me, politely f*ck off.”

Videos of Malone performing synth pop and covering Bob Dylan's "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right" give credence to the skepticism surrounding the erstwhile rap star. And after video surfaced late last year of him dropping the N-word, there's all kinds of red flags around this guy as inauthentic and insincere.

Obviously, there are several hip-hop artists who have dabbled in various genres: Andre 3000's odd pop-rock confections, Lil Wayne's guitar-driven "rock" flirtations, Queen Latifah released full-on jazz vocal albums--the issue isn't artistry or creativity; it's exploitation.

It remains to be seen whether or not Malone can undo the damage to his hip-hop cred. Fans are understandably fatigued with posers; Kid Rock started his career wearing his hip-hop "cred" as a badge of honor, before switching gears in the mid-2000s, going country, and embracing Red State "values."

Other white artists like Iggy Azalea and Macklemore have been the subject of criticism; Azalea for appropriating black American dialect and culture (she's Australian, in case you missed that bit) and Macklemore for exemplifying white privilege (his 2013 Best Rap Grammy win over Kendrick Lamar's good kid, m.A.A.d city left a bitter taste.)

And seeing as how Malone has been trotting out his guitar more and more, it looks very much like hip-hop was a town that he was visiting--but not where he lives.

Check out some of Post Malone's "varied" musical interests below:



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