"Rich Men North of Richmond," which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, was quickly praised by conservative commentators on social media
Maybe the politicians were the "Rich Men" after all.
Rising country star Oliver Anthony, known for his Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 hit "Rich Men North of Richmond," is distancing himself from the conservative figures co-opting his song, as he revealed in a lengthy video that "it’s aggravating seeing people in conservative news try to identify with me like I'm one of them."
"It was funny seeing my song at the presidential debate," Anthony said of the Republican debate last week in Milwaukee. "Cause it’s like, I wrote that song about those people."
"So for them to have to sit there and listen to that, that cracks me up. But it was funny kind of seeing the response to it. That song has nothing to do with Joe Biden, you know? It’s a lot bigger than Joe Biden. That song is written about the people on that stage and a lot more too not just them, but definitely them."
The singer-songwriter — who has tweeted that he does not support "either side politically" — made his thoughts known in a lengthy YouTube video response to his quick rise to fame, where he revealed that he was unhappy seeing his song "weaponized."
The track, which currently sits atop the charts and covers topics like poverty, taxes and inflation, was quickly co-signed by conservatives such as Dan Bongino and Matt Walsh. The Farmville, Virginia singer-songwriter and former factory worker initially gained buzz on TikTok before his song was uploaded to the radiowv YouTube account on Aug. 8.
Anthony then became the sixth artist ever to debut his first solo entry atop the Hot 100, following Zayn Malik with "Pillowtalk," “Harlem Shake” artist Baauer; and American Idol alumni Carrie Underwood, Fantasia and Clay Aiken.
"It’s hard to get a message out about your political ideology or your belief about the world in three minutes and some change but I do hate to see that song being weaponized," he said of the track. "Like I see the right trying to characterize me as one of their own and I see the left trying to discredit me, I guess in retaliation. That s---'s gotta stop. If you watch the response videos on YouTube to the song, it’s not conservative people responding to the song. It’s not even necessarily Americans responding to the song. I don't know that I’ve seen anything get such positive response from such a diverse group of people. And I think that terrifies the people that I sing about in that song."
Anthony later explained that his song "isn’t a Republican or Democrat thing."
"This isn’t even a United States thing. This has been a global response," he said of the track — which references "the obese milkin' welfare" and a dollar being "taxed to no end."
"And don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. Don’t shoot the messenger. I’m a nobody. It’s my belief that divine intervention has put me in this position at this point in time to get a message across and that’s all there is to it. I’m nobody special," he added.
"I feel terrible almost that I’ve been put in this place because there are a lot of artists and musicians out there that are far more talented that have put in way more hours than me. I don’t deserve to sit in the top 5 places on the iTunes charts. And the truth is i really could give a s--- less about the iTunes charts. What I care about is connecting with people."
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