‘Rich Men North of Richmond’ Repeats at No. 1


Rich Men North of Richmond,” the out-of-nowhere viral protest song by Oliver Anthony Music, is the country’s No. 1 single for a second time, after playing a key role in last week’s Republican primary debate.

“Rich Men,” a spare acoustic track uploaded to YouTube just weeks ago by the largely unknown Anthony, quickly caught fire as an angry cry against corporate and political elites, though it also took shots at welfare recipients. Embraced by conservative commentators, the song shot to the top of Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, with big download and streaming numbers.

Last week, the first question at the Republican debate was about the significance of “Rich Men,” and Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida spun it as a sign of policy failures by the Biden administration.

In a video response posted to YouTube, Anthony — real name Christopher Anthony Lunsford — said he was bothered by how his song has become a political talking point. “It’s aggravating seeing people on conservative news try to identify with me like I’m one of them,” he said. “I see the right trying to characterize me as one of their own. And I see the left trying to discredit me.” The song, he added on Facebook, “is about corporate owned D.C. politicians on both sides.”

“Rich Men” repeats at No. 1 on the all-genre Hot 100 with 23 million streams and 117,000 downloads, according to the tracking service Luminate. It is also No. 1 on Billboard’s country chart.

On the Billboard 200 album chart, Travis Scott’s “Utopia” marks a month at No. 1 with the equivalent of 161,000 sales, including 92 million streams and 92,000 copies sold as a complete package, according to Luminate, driven by discounted vinyl sales on the rapper’s website. According to Billboard, “Utopia” is the first rap album to spend its first four weeks at the top since 2018, when Drake’s “Scorpion” had five. (In 2021, Drake’s “Certified Lover Boy” spent its first three weeks at No. 1, then returned to the top for another two weeks later on.)

Morgan Wallen’s “One Thing at a Time” holds at No. 2, while the singer-songwriter Hozier opens at No. 3 with his new “Unreal Unearth.” The “Barbie” soundtrack remains in fourth place, and Taylor Swift’s “Midnights” is No. 5.

POST AUTHOR: Ben Sisario

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