Country Reigns Supreme, Post Malone Blocks Eminem From Number 1
(Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images for Stagecoach)

Country Dominates as Post Malone Blocks Eminem From #1

Country music is back, y'all. It's been a long time since we've seen the genre this visible in the pop landscape. With the help of Post Malone and Morgan Wallen, we're seeing the genre flex its muscles a little bit.

Billboard recently reveals their new Hot 100, showing "I Had Some Help" block out the scorching arrival of Eminem's new single "Houdini" from the number one slot. This now makes for the first time since Miley Cyrus' "Flowers"  that a song has held the top spot for 4 weeks or more.

It helps that the song is actually great. Naturally, it is easy to worry that the song won't truly sound like country music. It's impressive to see Post Malone shed his pop veneer and embrace the country side he admires so much. The hook is sensational, a massive crowd pleaser about drinking too much, a true standard at this rate. But it distinguishes itself in its tempo, its twang, and its irresistible melody in the hook.

Conversely, "Houdini" is bad. No matter what staunch Eminem defenders will tell you, don't buy it. On pure musical merits, it's remarkably sterile. It's a comeback single of sorts, where it defines E. Usually, these types of singles work but it's very stiff and middle aged. The fire that brings people to the Eminem dance is all in empty calorie lyricism and colorless dexterity.

Frankly, the shock value is tired. No, it's not because of 'cancel culture' or whatever else, nor is this new for Eminem. He's been grappling with people taking issue with his tacky potshots for years. The difference is, the critiques of celebrity culture and the music industry used to be funny. Now it's merely subversive, lacking any of the bite that made any of his records from 25 years ago worth hearing.

Still, I wasn't sure Post and Wallen were capable of fending off Slim Shady. The Marshall Mathers fanbase is exceptionally rabid and the fact "Houdini" reaches number 2 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart suggests that he can devour popular music at a moment's notice. Given it is the first single on his first album in 4 years, his diehards quickly supported. Still, the consistency of "I Had Some Help" keeps it at number one.

Honestly, there's no telling what could dethrone Post Malone and Morgan Wallen's smash country hit. Perhaps hip-hop could still take its crown back despite Eminem's failure. If Kendrick Lamar releases more music in the aftermath of his monumental beef with Drake, it could be the catalyst.

However, it could be entirely random. With the charts always fluctuating and no big name slated to release, there isn't any obvious contenders for #1. Maybe Zach Bryan? He shows viability with how well his Kacey Musgraves duet "I Remember Everything" performed. "Pink Skies" sits at number 10 as we speak. He could pull an upset, who knows? Unfortunately, my guess is some random song on TikTok takes over when "I Had Some Help" loses a bit of steam.

What does the success of "I Had Some Help" mean for country music? Are we seeing a shift in what popular music looks like in 2024?

Are Post Malone & Morgan Wallen Leading Country Into a New Boom Period?

I reckon we're seeing the official inauguration of country music as the #1 genre in the US. The patterns definitely suggest this too. In spite of his many controversies, Morgan Wallen remains one of the biggest artists in the world. His biggest song "Last Night" dominated the charts and cemented itself as Billboard's number 1 song of 2023 through its unmatched staying power. Add all that with the fact he drops albums with almost 40 songs, Wallen is unstoppable by sheer volume.

Similarly, Luke Combs' stellar cover of "Fast Car" stuck around for a long time. He also earns a measure of respectability as well by honoring Tracy Chapman. In the song's success, country can shed its perception of being the thickheaded, drunk crowd by allowing new ideas and perspectives in its environment.

Moreover, you're seeing artists from different backgrounds embrace the totality of what country music is, expanding it into something even bigger. Beyoncé lends her high visibility and embraces the genre's rich history with the release of Cowboy Carter. Furthermore, Shaboozey sees tons of success with his smash hit "A Bar Song (Tipsy)." I don't always love it, it can play a little too much like a Wranglers commercial sometimes. But that's not the point. Regardless, it's important not to reject non-white voices in the ahistorical belief of "traditionalism." Rather, we should encourage new faces and ideals and see where that fits into the current form of country,

Post Malone coming to Wallen's side gives country a concrete sense of crossover legitimacy it needs to be truly dominant again. The last time it truly felt this powerful was in the 90s, where the music industry was at its apex and had money for every genre to thrive. Hip-hop, rock, pop, and country all rule in unison at the time, even allowing smaller sub-genres their time in the spotlight. But now, with the industry as scattered as ever, there needs to a sole ruling genre. Perhaps Post and Morgan steady the ship.

Now is the perfect time for country music to be the top genre in the music industry. The multitude of big names to step in and represent Nashville gives a sense of order in a vast and confusing music industry. Additionally, in a society that's starting to embrace some of its more rural aspects, migrating from big cities, you're bound to get some new representation. Thankfully, the genre answers the call and embraces what the future could look like.