“I was just lying in my own self-pity for months”: How an unlikely collaboration with Post Malone helped revive Ozzy Osbourne’s career

Post Malone and Ozzy Osbourne in 2019
(Image credit: Kevin Winter/AMA2019/Getty Images for dcp)

Beerbongs, Bentleys and… Black Sabbath?

When Post Malone’s Hollywood’s Bleeding album dropped in 2019, the last thing anyone expected to hear was the rapper alongside heavy metal royalty. Yet, among the megastar’s customary gaggle of hip-hop collaborators stood the black sheep of the bunch: Ozzy Osbourne. The duo’s collaborative song, Take What You Want, became a fast standout of Post’s career to acolytes of both mainstream and alternative music, and in 2024 it’s found relevance anew thanks to its position soundtracking the new trailer for the remake of The Crow.

Let’s set the scene: it’s 2019, and Post Malone is hot shit. The previous year had catapulted the man born Austin Post into the spotlight, his second record, Beerbongs & Bentleys, topping charts worldwide. As well as that, Post had even scored Billboard’s 2018 Breakthrough Artist award. So, when Kelly Osbourne excitedly approached her father about the opportunity to work with the coveted rap star, Ozzy had one thing to say: “Who the fuck is Post Malone?!”

Considering the realms of mainstream hip-hop and legendary heavy metal rarely converge, we can hardly blame Ozzy for his ignorance. After his initial confusion, though, Ozzy accepted the invitation to work with Post. Soon, he would join producer Andrew Watt at his home studio to record his feature.

In an interview with Zane Lowe, Post fondly recalled the Take What You Want recording process.

“Ozzy Osbourne, baby!” he grinned. “I was in Utah because I had just got off tour, and Ozzy went over to Watt’s house… I think [Ozzy] crushed it.”

Ozzy also felt like he’d smashed his spot. Post received calls from Watt relaying the metal mainstay’s enthusiasm and, according to the producer, Ozzy would often praise the track. He apparently even insisted that it was his “favourite thing [he’d] done since Sabbath”.

When you’ve been around the block as long as Ozzy, it must get harder and harder to stay inspired. The emo-rap flow of Take What You Want certainly broke new ground for the Prince Of Darkness, yet it still embraced Ozzy’s old-school gloom. His sharp, distinctive howls give the track a sinister edge, resulting in a hip-hop-tinged twist on Sabbath’s brooding nihilism. 

Though Post and Ozzy recorded the track separately, the pair would eventually unite in the flesh to perform the song in late 2019. During the rapper’s concert at The Forum in Inglewood, California, on November 21, Ozzy emerged onstage, perched elegantly on a throne and booming out his opening lines. Post’s bat-adorned suit that night seemed to pay homage to his newest collaborator, proudly and quite literally wearing his love for Ozzy on his sleeve. He wore it on his face too: Post’s grin is infectious as he parades Ozzy across the stage in awe.

Post’s excitement at teaming with the Prince Of Darkness that night was no show for the cameras, either. In a clip that was filmed before the gig that night and later included in Post’s Runaway tour documentary, Post approaches the leather-clad Sabbath legend while he’s sat upon that throne. An anxious voiceover reveals that Post was shitting bricks during the meeting: “I was nervous meeting him… because what the fuck do you say to Ozzy Osbourne? ‘I like your pants?’ I don’t know! You have no idea what the fuck to say to him!”

Post eventually opts for a handshake, with a measured opening of, “Nice to see you! How are you?” He soon lets some of the giddiness bleed through, however: “You look great! You excited? You ready to party?” That’s when Ozzy cracks, letting out a charmed laugh.

“It’s mind blowing,” Post reflects in the documentary. “Working with one of the biggest dudes in rock ’n’ roll history is pretty badass.”

The collaboration was also part of a process that saw Ozzy fall in love with making music again. Around the same time as recording the guest feature with Post, he was also working on his comeback solo album Ordinary Man: his first LP in a decade. Both Take What You Want and the entirety of Ordinary Man were produced by Andrew Watt, who Ozzy adored so much that the pair teamed up again not even two years later to make Patient Number 9.

“I was just lying in my own self-pity for months,” the frontman said of his musical life right before meeting Watt. “I’ve missed music so badly. My fans are so loyal and so good. Up until making [Ordinary Man], I thought I was dying, but it got me off my arse… It’s the greatest album I’ve done.”

As a result, no matter who you are, you practically have to love Take What You Want. For fans of Post, it not only let him collaborate with one of his greatest musical heroes; it also maintained his mainstream relevance by reaching number eight in the Billboard 200. Meanwhile, for metalheads, it helped bring Ozzy back to music-making, with a producer that would rejuvenate the then-70-year-old veteran. It even marked his return to the US top 10 after a staggering three-decade absence, to boot!

Whether 2024’s The Crow turns out to be incredible or unforgivable, the legacy of this miraculous song is already secure.

Emily Swingle

Full-time freelancer, part-time music festival gremlin, Emily first cut her journalistic teeth when she co-founded Bittersweet Press in 2019. After asserting herself as a home-grown, emo-loving, nu-metal apologist, Clash Magazine would eventually invite Emily to join their Editorial team in 2022. In the following year, she would pen her first piece for Metal Hammer - unfortunately for the team, Emily has since become a regular fixture. When she’s not blasting metal for Hammer, she also scribbles for Rock Sound, Why Now and Guitar and more.