The CMA Awards often pair a variety of artists together to create memorable collaborative performances. Fans were elated when the announcement was first made that Post Malone would be joining the stage with country artists HARDY and Morgan Wallen. While many know Malone for his work in hip-hop music, the Texas native is also a huge fan of country music.
HARDY was nominated for four different CMA Awards for his song, ‘wait in the truck,’ including Song of the Year, Single of the Year, Musical Event of the Year, and Music Video of the Year. Morgan Wallen was nominated for three categories, including Entertainer of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year, and Album of the Year.
In a recent interview with Audacy, HARDY said Malone’s performance was the result of positive thinking. “I’ve manifested this for years,” the singer said. “Slight flex here, but I started following him when he had like, 300k Instagram followers,” he added.
“I just like what he’s done for hip-hop and for pop music. It’s just great. I’ve always said that from the very beginning. I’ve been a huge fan. So, the time has come.”
Malone has often professed his love for country music, even as his last few albums have seen him making a transition from hip-hop to pop. He was a first-time performer on the CMAs and his appearance with Wallen and Hardy was described as “a can’t-miss medley of country classics.”
Last year, Malone even floated the idea of recording a country album on The Howard Stern Show. “To be honest, there’s nothing stopping me from taking a camera or setting up in my studio in Utah and just recording a country album…Maybe I’ll face some repercussions later from the label and sh*t. But, there’s nothing stopping me from doing that.”
This special collaboration was a fan favorite of the night. Though it seemed like an unlikely trio at first, the three artists’ gave a truly captivating performance with a blend of contemporary country and rock and pop sounds. Performing some of Diffie’s classic songs starting with “John Deere Green” by HARDY and Wallen and then into “Pickup Man,” led by Malone, these three artists delivered a performance that will go down in CMA Awards history.
Naturally, it was very fitting that the “Pickup Man” himself received a well-deserved tribute on the CMAs stage. As one of the most cherished 90s country artists, Diffie’s untimely passing due to COVID-19 complications in late March 2020 at the age of 61 was a significant loss to the music world.
While Diffie has been honored in the past on various award show platforms, this particular assembly of stars has never paid homage to him. This tribute held a special place, especially for HARDY, given that one of the last songs featuring Diffie’s voice was “Redneck Tendencies,” a duet with Trace Adkins featured on HARDY’s Hixtape Vol. 1 in 2019.
Prior to the star-studded collaboration, Wallen had took to the stage with surprise guest Eric Church to perform “Man Made a Bar,” from his CMA Album of the Year nominated project, One Thing At A Time.
Next year, Post Malone will also return to the Country music circuit as he was recently revealed to be on the lineup for Stagecoach 2024, where he will perform a set of country covers.