Post Malone Nearly Collaborated with Bob Dylan on a Song Called “Be Not Deceived” Before the Lyrics Were Retracted

In the middle of the pandemic, Bob Dylan sent some lyrics to Post Malone. The two began collaborating on the song, and Malone even started recording a version of the it, though it was never completed. “I have not met Bob Dylan,” revealed Malone on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon in 2022. “But we have been … I don’t know how much I’m at liberty to discuss. But we’ve been chatting. We’ve chatted.”

He added, “He kind of slid into my DMs. It’s incredible. Growing up and listening to music, he’s always just been a voice in my head. I’ve always appreciated the music and appreciated the songwriting.”

The collaboration started after producer Michael Cash was inspired by the 2014 release Lost on the River: The New Basement Tapes, a collection of Dylan songs re-interpreted by artists like Elvis Costello, Marcus Mumford, and Rhiannon Giddens, and wanted to pull together an album of Dylan’s songs recorded by hip-hop artists like Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, and others.

Cash also pitched Malone to Dylan’s manager Jeff Rosen and even sent him a photo of Malone’s Dylan tattoo on his left bicep, along with a link to his cover of “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right.” A longtime fan of Dylan’s, Malone covered him when he was starting out and posting covers on YouTube as a teen, and throughout the years.

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On November 18, 2020, Rosen sent Dylan’s lyrics of a song called “Be Not Deceived” to Cash. “It was talking about a loss of innocence, and what people are going through — disfranchised, leaderless masses of children with no parent or guardian or shepherd or anything,” revealed Cash in 2023. “It talked about going out and making your own way. And when you read it, honestly, it’s poetry. It’s beautiful.” 

After he read the lyrics to Malone over the phone, Cash said the rapper was in tears. By March 2021, Malone went to Cash’s studio in Rhinebeck, New York to record a version of “Be Not Deceived.” Though they had 40 percent of the sketched, Malone had to leave, and it was never completed.

“It needed flair,” said Cash. “It needed more layers. It wasn’t a complete piece of music, but it was definitely a song. It had a beginning, a middle, and an end. There was a bridge, there was a chorus. It just needed to be finished.” 

Eventually, Dylan’s team got tired of waiting. “Rosen said to me at a certain point, ‘Well, we’re just going to retract the lyrics,'” shared Cash. “Bob and Mr. Rosen do things a specific way. They get things done in a New York minute. Honestly, they just were like, ‘This should be finished.’”

As Cash became busy working on other projects, the Dylan project was shelved, though he hopes they can revisit it again one day and get it released. “My hopes are that Mr. Dylan and Mr. Rosen give back the right to use the lyrics,” said Cash. “I would like it if the record gets finished. That’s basically my Jerry Springer final thought. … It needs to be shared.”

Photo: Morgan Lieberman/FilmMagic

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