On Post Malone’s Country Song with Morgan Wallen, “I Had Some Help”

In 2020, Post Malone was posing with Billy Strings and sporting Tyler Childers and Colter Wall T-shirts. Then in 2021, he was covering Sturgill Simpson backed by Dwight Yoakam’s band. This sure had us all salivating at the prospects of a Post Malone country record. Even if it never came about, with Posty’s popularity at the time and touting such cool country artists, it definitely couldn’t hurt the cause for real country music.

But the narrative has shifted in a major way as “Post Malone goes country” goes from a hypothetical to a reality. Instead of something coming together involving folks like Tyler Childers, Billy Strings, or Dwight Yoakam, Post Malone has instead fallen in with the Morgan Wallen, Hardy, and Ernest crowd. Though fans of these guys might be excited by the idea, it’s not exactly what many true country music fans had in mind.

We first saw Post Malone, Morgan Wallen, and Hardy in action together at the 2023 CMA Awards to decidedly subpar results. It was touted as a “classic country medley,” but turned out to be the silly selections from Joe Diffie’s catalog, a.k.a. “John Deere Green” and “Pickup Man.” Morgan Wallen and Hardy were braying horrifically out-of-tune, and it exposed just how poorly country music’s “top” talent measures up to a hip-hop/pop star like Post Malone.

Post Malone did the best with a bad situation, but the question at the time was why he put himself in a bad situation to begin with? Post Malone has a bastard sword tattooed on his face, and he’s still made better life decisions than the peanut-brained Wallen who’s currently facing three felonies for hurling a chair off a building on Lower Broadway.

Perhaps if a Post Malone country album materializes in full, the personnel he chooses will be much more country and cool. He’s already been affiliated with Luke Combs as well. But what we get with “I Had Some Help” is decidedly commercial radio pop country product. Sure, there is some steel guitar in the mix. But it’s a typical major label single distilled down by six writers (yes, six), and three producers.

That said, “I Had Some Help” is devilishly catchy, and the early proponents touting this as the “song of the summer” are probably right. The video portrays Morgan and Posty whipping shitties in a jacked up classic canary yellow Ford beneath a massive American flag draped from a construction crane as fireworks go off. It doesn’t get more “Team America” than that. It makes you want to crash your jet ski drunk into the side of a pontoon on the 5th of July.

Beyoncé’s “Texas Hold ‘Em”? That feels like an eternity ago. The folks that say it’s unfair they Bey and other Black performers face more scrutiny when they try to move into country while white rappers like Post Malone and Jelly Roll just waltz right in definitely have a point. But it does feel like “I Had Some Help” will have the staying power the Beyoncé experiment didn’t.

You add Shaboozy’s big blockbuster “A Bar (Tipsy)” currently at the top of the charts, and all of a sudden it’s interlopers into the genre topping counry as opposed to its home grown talent. Take it as a sign that country is so popular at the moment, everybody wants a piece. But it should be the people who’ve spent their careers in the genre who should get a slice of pie before we start divvying it up amid millionaire and billionaire superstars from other places.

But as has been the theme in country music for a while, even the “bad” songs are not nearly as bad as the were a few years ago. “I Had Some Help” isn’t as bad as it is just a bit unfortunate that this is how Post Malone has chosen to enter the country space. We can only hope that in the future, Post can use his powers and popularity for good in country instead of this.

But in truth, country music doesn’t need Post Malone to be cool like it did back in 2020. Post Malone, Shaboozy, Jelly Roll, and Beyoncé, it’s these artists who need country to be considered cool as we head into the summer of 2024, not vice versa.

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