Malone was born in Syracuse, New York on July 4, 1995. His father, Rich Post, and stepmother, Jodie, raised him. His father was a DJ when he was younger, and he introduced Malone to a variety of musical genres, including hip hop, country, and rock. After his father became the Dallas Cowboys’ concessions manager, Malone and his family moved to Grapevine, Texas, when Johnny was nine years old. Malone began playing the guitar in 2009 and auditioned for the American band Crown the Empire, but was turned down because his guitar strings broke during the audition. His early interest in learning guitar was sparked by the popular video game Guitar Hero.
Malone has long been a fan of alternative rock music, and in June 2017, he performed a DJ performance at Emo Nite in Los Angeles, where he played songs by the American alt-rock band My Chemical Romance.
Malone began his music career as an independent artist in 2013, and his breakthrough single “White Iverson,” which reached number 14 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in 2015, helped him gain popularity. Malone quickly secured a recording contract with Republic Records and released Stoney, his debut studio album, in 2016, which included the diamond-certified hit single “Congratulations.”
On the US Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, the album held the record for the most weeks (77). Malone’s sophomore album, Beerbongs & Bentleys (2018), debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 in the United States and broke multiple streaming records. It was nominated for Album of the Year at the 2018 Grammy Awards and featured the number-one singles “Rockstar” and “Psycho” on the Hot 100.
The commercial and lead single for the film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018), “Sunflower” (featuring Swae Lee), was included on Malone’s third album, Hollywood’s Bleeding (2019), which achieved Malone’s second number one.