The late, very wise Andrew Breitbart famously and correctly said politics flows downstream from culture.

Not unlike politics — though less cringey — the musical tone in the country is also set by culture. The power of music is real. It’s capable of eliciting strong emotional responses in us. 

The songs that resonate with us, and we gravitate toward, are the ones we find most relatable and are often a reflection of our values and worldview — a worldview which shapes our musical taste. 


Enter the Morgan Wallen phenomenon.

Even if country music isn’t your thing, you’ve likely heard of the 31-year-old megastar with crossover appeal.

His song, “Last Night,” was the most streamed song of 2023 across all genres on Apple and Spotify, as well as the No. 1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 for the year. 

In addition to the most streamed song of the year, the unassuming country boy who is selling out Taylor-Swift-size stadiums surpassed Swift to land the top album of the year on Billboard’s 200 chart with “One Thing at a Time.” 

He also racked up his eleventh career No. 1 hit on country radio in December with “Everything I Love,” and finished the year with the highest grossing country tour. 

Put quite simply, Wallen dominated 2023. 

To say he’s an epic conundrum for the cancel culture class is an understatement. If it were up to them, this would have been the year that wasn’t.

In 2021, while on a drunk bender, he was secretly recorded in a leaked video calling his white friend the “N” word. He immediately apologized, canceled his concert tour, checked himself into rehab and donated half a million dollars to Black causes.

Radio stations pulled his music, multiple media platforms including Cumulus, iHeart Radio, Sirius XM and Country Music Television canceled him. His record label suspended him, and he was banned from the Country Music Association (CMA) Awards. 

Despite all of that, it still wasn’t enough for the cancel culture crowd and media elites who wanted him completely erased from existence. You know, like they did with Hunter Biden after his racist text messages were released and like they do with all rap music.

Just kidding.

His fans believed he had done his penance, gave him time served and canceled cancel culture on his behalf. As it turns out, his comeback has proven greater than his setback. 

With the spotlight stuck on him, the raw talent of this not-so-average, small-town boy from Tennessee shined bright. 

Even many in the Black community seemingly agreed he atoned for his sin, as he ended 2021 No. 1 on Billboard’s R&B/Hip-Hop chart for his song with rapper Lil Durk. 

Laughably, the woke brass in the country music industry are still trying to shun Wallen out of existence. At last year’s CMA Awards, they gave the not-so friendly finger to their industry’s biggest star, leaving him empty-handed after he had a massive record-crushing year, and was nominated in three categories. His response on social media was all class: 

“Walked in tonight a winner, didn’t leave no different.” 

Billboard agreed, they awarded him 11 wins at their awards ceremony last year — the most wins by any artist since Drake in 2019. 

And his fans most certainly agree. In case there’s still any misconception that his base is just a bunch of low-information hillbillies, he’ll be performing at MetLife Stadium this spring — that’s in New Jersey, not the deep south. The stadium seats 82,500 people. And he’ll be there for two nights. 

The out of touch suits at the CMAs might be the only ones who don’t understand winners and losers in this scenario. 

In country music recently — from Wallen and Jason Aldean to John Rich — we’ve seen cracks start to form in the foundation of cancel culture. 

If you remember last year they screamed “racism” at Aldean for his music video “Try That in a Small Town,” which called out violent crime in our cities. Aldean and his fans weren’t having it, and fans responded by sending the song to No. 1 on iTunes. 

Blackballed by Nashville’s Music Row because he’s too politically incorrect, Rich started going around the industry brass to release his music on various free speech online platforms. His fans are following him, and in 2022 his song “Progress” hit number one on iTunes. 

Oliver Anthony didn’t even bother with the woke music industry — one that would have canceled “Rich Men North of Richmond,” the blue-collar song that rails against the government, before the last chord was played. Then, an unknown name, he uploaded the song on YouTube. It went viral and topped the charts on Apple, Spotify and Billboard Hot 100. 


People want music they can relate to. 

For years, country music fans have been the brunt of overplayed jokes about beer, trucks and women. Hilarious.

The truth is, the culture of country music goes much deeper, with traditions rooted in faith, family and patriotism, and fans who are fiercely loyal.

Country music is recognizing the cultural moment. Fans don’t want their culture corrupted. Artists are noticing what happens every time one of them stands up against woke insanity — their fans rally firmly behind them, not the transplanted West Coast suits in the industry.

This backlash is a contagious energy that will likely only embolden more artists to take a stand and stay true to their roots. If it continues, stay tuned for more sold-out stadiums in 2024. 

It could very well be this is the year cancel culture crumbles.