Changing Country Music History

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BY Dominique Price

Staff Reporter

Country music artists Jimmie Allen and Kane Brown have both made history as the first African American artists to top the country music charts.

According to USA Today, “Jimmie Allen has made history as the first black artist to have his debut single reach No. 1 on country radio, and it happened on the same week Kane Brown, who is black and white, has the top country and pop album in the U.S.”

“I am a very big fan of country music that is both happy and proud to see these amazing artists top the charts,” said junior Brianna Rotondo.

Allen joins Darius Rucker as the only African-American country artists to hit No. 1 with their debut singles.

“Best Shot,” written by Allen, Josh London and JP Williams, is the first single from his debut album, “Mercury Lane.”

“Mercury Lane” was released on Oct. 12 and quickly rose to the top of the country album charts, reaching number 11.

The hit single ended fellow country music artist, Luke’s Combs’ four-week run at the top of the chart with “She Got the Best of Me.”

“I like how Jimmie Allen has brought his own style, sound, and look to country music. It’s not every day we see an African American country singer rise to the top of the charts,” said Andreina Sosa, Marketing Coordinator of Performing Arts.

Allen is signed to Broken Bow Records, under which he released his self-titled debut EP, as well as his debut album.

According to “USA Today”, Allen said he’s happy to diversify contemporary country music while also paying tribute to other black artists in the genre, from Charley Pride to Darius Rucker.

Kane Brown also made history as the first African American country music artist to reach number one

“Experiment” is the third country album to reach number one on the all-genre Billboard 200 chart in 2018. It follows Carrie Underwood’s “Cry Pretty” and Jason Aldean’s “Rearview Town.”

“I was very excited to see Kane sing his new song, ‘Good As You’ off his new album ‘Experiment’ during the Thanksgiving Day Parade,” said Rotondo.

Brown also became the first artist to be number one on all five of the mainstream Billboard country charts at the same time.

On his personal website, he credits himself for coming a long way from getting his start on social media.

In 2015, Brown released his first EP, titled “Closer,” followed by another EP under his new label, titled “Chapter 1.”

Along with Brown’s second studio album, “Experiment,” his debut, self-titled album, remains on the Top Country Albums Billboard chart.

“These two artists bring a new song and look to country music, one that is different from what we typically hear from country music artists like Florida Georgia Line, Blake Shelton and Carrie Underwood,” said junior Dalvyn Charles.

Allen is set to open up for Brown on tour next year.

“As an African American young man who loves music, it is so good to hear these two artists making history and challenging the stereotype of all African American artists being R&B singers or rappers,” said Charles.

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