Mansionz is the creative brainchild of artists Mike Posner and Blackbear (aka Mat Musto). The music they make together is expansive—big and bold melodic music in one place, charged-up hip hop in others, and soul-baring lyrics and personal themes in other areas. Mansionz has many rooms and corridors—but it is also gated. The two artists who architected the sound, style, and aesthetic are guarded about their origins. “None of it matters,” Mat explains. Dismissive—maybe, but the music clearly has a lot of intention, thought, and expression.
What can be confirmed is that Mike and Mat formed Mansionz in 2016—well into two thriving careers, decorated with platinum records and A-list collaborations—including with one another. Debut single “STFU,” featuring rapper Spark Master Tape, appeared without much explanation. It has since achieved over 200 million streams. The melodic anthem sent unwanted calls to voicemail against lush instrumentation that grabbed from hip hop and lo-fi. Atop 2017, the pair released a series of videos and used red carpet appearances to hint something was coming. That March, an Island Records album arrived, featuring G-Eazy and NBA Hall Of Famer Dennis Rodman. Each song on the album resonated, garnering over a billion combined streams.
The release reached high into the Billboard Top 200, and made a lasting introduction from the two artists—who dyed their hair green for the campaign. Six years later, asked about the significance of the color, “Money,” says Mat. “Definitely money,” agrees Mike. Mansionz allows these artists to experience a second life—something completely on their own terms, and unflinching. At least one concert, at Red Rocks Amphitheater followed, as well as music videos.
In mid-October of 2023, Instagram posts and a new teaser video gave way to more coming—culminating with a Halloween album. “I was just bored,” Blackbear states, as to why the duo returned in 2023 after a lengthy hiatus. “I wanted to live in a mansion with my friends, make music, and just soak up the lifestyle.” Asked about the significance of the drop, “Many ghosts were involved and featured in this album, from the mansions we were staying at,” Posner shares with excitement. “The ghosts really have an affinity for that day. And you don’t have to pay them or list them.” Asked about some deeply personal lyrics on mansionz 2’s “Stay Alive,” Posner offers something short—but profound. “Have you ever felt so, so sad and depressed that you feel like there’s no way out, and you just start laughing?” The song details fast living, perilous lows, but a triumphant rebound. On “Optionz,” the artists brag about homes, cars, and worldwide love. Posner’s lyrics also touch on surviving a snakebite during his 2019 walk across America. Although Mansionz embraces decadence, it is underpinned with truth—for the listener to decide if they care. The music speaks for itself. Blackbear points to “Annihilate.” The dynamic song seamlessly switches from charged-up rapping from artists who conquered by any means to a lush chorus about overcoming all odds in the face of apocalypse. Amid the bragging and trolling, Mansionz still knows how to thematically hit home.
The album was reportedly made over 10 months—at least that’s the date Blackbear shares, while also claiming the pair recorded in historic mansions from California to Delaware—“even Marilyn Manson’s mansion,” Matt details. Both cite the film Enter The Void and Aphex Twin as album influences. Even on the album, PSAs take the listener on a fun, unpredictable ride.