Despite being banned by award shows, suspended by his label, dropped by his agent, and having his songs pulled from radio stations and music streaming platforms, Morgan Wallen has still managed to score 2021’s top album in any genre, Billboard’s year-end report confirmed Thursday.
In February, the fallout over Wallen being caught on video drunkenly using the N-word in reference to a white friend looked likely to derail his career. But to the shock of the music industry, fans stood by him and Dangerous: The Double Album, which had been released only weeks before, continued to climb the charts. Now that the end-of-year tallies have come in, Billboard reported Wallen’s record wrapped up the year with “3.226 million equivalent album units earned in the U.S.” Most of that total was derived from streaming downloads of the album’s list of 30 songs.
The outlet also noted that Dangerous is the first country album to top the yearly chart since Taylor Swift’s 2009 release, Fearless.
As The Daily Wire previously reported, the 28-year-old Wallen issued a statement to fans on Instagram, thanking them for sticking by him.
“I could write a book on 2021. And I probably will one day. But for now, I wanna say thank you.”
“Thank you to everyone who believed in me and continued to believe in me, even when it wasn’t the popular thing to do,” the country star continued. “Thank you to my family, my band, my friends, and my fans for having my back and sticking up for me when so many were coming for me. I hope my heart has shown through the noise.”
“I go into 2022 feeling inspired and free. Inspired to create from the heart and free to share those creations with you guys. Im so proud of how far we’ve come together. I still feel like this is just the beginning.”
“God bless y’all let’s crush this year.”
While it seems clear from the numbers that people who like Wallen’s music were simply unwilling to let the recording industry succeed in canceling him, some media outlets used his success as an opportunity to imply his fans were motivated by racism. In reporting on his top-selling status, NPR editorialized, “Wallen’s bad-boy behavior likely helped sales of his release, Dangerous: The Double Album.”
But if that’s the case, it wouldn’t explain one final shock in Wallen’s roller-coaster year, which finished with one additional surprising success — after partnering with rapper Lil Durk on the song “Broadway Girls,” he is also now sitting at number one on the R&B/hip-hop chart, suggesting black fans, too, are willing to let him move on from his admitted mistake.
In a Clubhouse interview with black comedian Druski, Wallen said he would welcome a chance to collaborate with other rappers like Moneybagg Yo and Kendrick Lamar.