The similarities between rap artist Lizzo and country star John Rich aren’t immediately obvious.
The two compete in completely different musical genres, have opposite political views, and their audiences likely don’t overlap very often. But one thing these two big-name music stars share is that they’re both topping the charts right now with two singles that couldn’t be more different.
Country fans were delighted to see Rich’s single “Progress” jump to the top of the Apple iTunes song chart last week. The Nashville-based star, who rose to fame as one half of the duo Big and Rich, initially dropped his new single on Donald Trump’s social media app Truth Social and video-sharing site Rumble before releasing through traditional channels.
The selective channel outlets were chosen in order to avoid sites notoriously hostile to conservatives like YouTube and Twitter. Rich figured they would not approve of the lyrics to “Progress,” which say in part:
“There’s a hole in this country where its heart used to be, And Old Glory’s divided, on fire in the street…They say Building Back Better will make America great…If that’s a wave of the future, all I’ve got to say,”
The chorus drives the point home.
“Stick your progress where the sun don’t shine/Keep your big mess away from me and mine/If you leave us alone, well we’d all be just fine/Stick your progress where the sun don’t shine,” Rich sings.
“They invite the whole world to come live in our land…And leave our countrymen dying in Afghanistan…They say let go of Jesus and let government save…You can have back your freedoms if you do what we say,” the song continues.
At the end, the lyrics issue a call for strength and persistence.
“They bent us all over but it’s all over now /Because we figured it out /We ain’t backing down.”
The song was an instant hit with fans, which delighted the country star. “Here I am with no record label, no publisher, no marketing deal,” Rich told Just the News. “I just got a song that speaks to a lot of people, and Truth and Rumble pushed it out there. And man, I’m really proud of what we did today.”
He said he chose alternative platforms very intentionally.
“When I’m talking about them shutting down our voices, I’m talking about Twitter and YouTube and Facebook,” Rich explained. “And I thought, you know what, I’m gonna reach out to Truth Social and reach out to Rumble because they still allow free speech over there. Why would I launch this song on the platforms that I’m railing against in the lyrics?”
It’s notable that the country star made it to the top of the charts without releasing or promoting his new single through mainstream channels. Optimistic conservatives are saying it shows the tide is turning and more people are waking up to the truth. The song is now available on YouTube.
However, pragmatists can see the long road ahead. While Rich did manage to nab the number one spot on one chart, the battle for the culture is far from over.
Just as Rich was celebrating reaching that milestone, Lizzo was being lauded for earning a number one spot atop the Billboard Hot 100 Chart – which is calculated based on streams, sales, and airplay, for the second time ever with her new release for the summer, “About Damn Time.”
Unlike “Progress,” Lizzo released her new song through larger popular channels. It’s the lead single from the 34-year-old’s new album, “Special,” which came out July 15.
Lizzo’s lyrics are often rife with images of self-love and feminism. The song opens,
“It’s bad b**ch o’clock, yeah, it’s thick-thirty/I’ve been through a lot but I’m still flirty (okay)/Is everybody back up in the buildin’?/It’s been a minute, tell me how you’re healin/’Cause I’m about to get into my feelings/How you feelin’? How you feel right now?”
The chorus, following her typical focus, is an ode to feeling good and celebrating the self.
“Turn up the music, turn down the lights/I got a feelin’ I’m gon’ be alright,” Lizzo sings. “Okay (okay), alright/It’s about damn time (time)/Turn up the music, let’s celebrate (alright)/I got a feelin’ I’m gon’ be okay/Okay (okay), alright/It’s about damn time.”
By rap standards, it’s certainly not the most political song or even close to it. “About Damn Time” has a catchy beat that makes it endlessly playable on Top 40 radio stations, which helped make it popular for mainstream audiences. However, while Lizzo’s lyrics aren’t making a political statement, the artist herself has done plenty to make her feelings known on the cultural issues of the moment.
The “Truth Hurts” singer recently pledged $500,000 from her upcoming tour to be donated to Planned Parenthood. Lizzo, whose real name is Melissa Viviane Jefferson, made the announcement via her Twitter account and confirmed that events promoter organization Live Nation would match her donation, bringing the total amount to $1 million, The Daily Wire previously reported.
In March, Lizzo slammed a Texas abortion ban, and voiced her support for gender transition surgeries people while on stage at SXSW.
“I’m proud to rep Houston, but I’m not proud to rep Texas politics right now,” the Grammy Award winner told a cheering crowd. “Mind your business.”
“The abortion ban is atrocious,” Lizzo continued. “Mind your business. Stay out of my body. This is not political.” She also claimed conservative politicians were “all up in your uterus.”
Lizzo went on to say children who identify as trans should be free to undergo surgeries. “They’re taking away the right for young children to have a chance to live authentically as themselves,” Lizzo said. “It’s a violation of human rights. Trans rights are human rights.”
So between Rich and Lizzo, who wins the ultimate prize?
If the award is based on distribution, then “Progress” is the underdog thanks to the song having zero marketing and being released on less mainstream platforms. However, “About Damn Time” will be the one playing every time you get into the car for the rest of the summer, making it practically inescapable.
These two songs and two artists are polar opposites, but both are finding their audience. It only proves that the culture war still rages on.
The views expressed in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.