Two hours before he’s set to perform at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, Post Malone is finishing supper at a T.G.I.Fridays in Manhattan. There’s no scheduled sound check for Post to miss, but the tour bus is parked in New Jersey and so his crew is frantically piling into Ubers to make it to the venue in something resembling a timely fashion. In one car, there’s Kerwin Frost—part of the Spaghetti Boys collective—who recently went viral after dab-bombing Kylie Jenner; Alec, Post’s 25-year-old assistant; and Jordon, Post’s 30-year-old brother. A second car holds Post and his on-again, off-again girlfriend Ashlen. The third is packed with Post’s management. In three hours, Justin Bieber will take the stage to perform chart-breaking pop hits from his latest album, Purpose, to the first of two sold out shows in Brooklyn. 

After commandeering the Uber’s radio, Kerwin toggles between Nash 94.7, Power 105, and his “favorite artist,” Taylor Swift. Listening to today’s chart-topping country and hip-hop hits on the way to a Post Malone show makes sense. His sound is an unlikely mix of folk, country, and trap ballads. It’s internet-era genre curation, and Post has mastered his particular take on it—so far. His music has been referred to as ‘trap folk,’ which makes Post smile and strikes him as a “cool term.”

On the strength of three songs, he landed a feature on Kanye West’s latest album, The Life of Pablo, and got the invite to tour with Bieber. Combine those important co-signs with Post’s peculiar sound and biography—relatively normal white kid, half raised in the tundra that is Syracuse, NY, half in a suburb outside Dallas—and you have a recipe for massive, demo-transcendent appeal. Young white female tween Beliebers lining up outside of Barclays know and like Post’s music; so do the Kardashians, who booked him to perform at Kylie’s birthday last year.