A Rising Star in Multiple Genres: Sam Hunt

Country music has recently seen the rising of a new star whose history differs from most other artists. This artist did not grow up thinking that they would top the country music charts, but instead aspired to play college football (which he accomplished, by the way). This artist is Sam Hunt, and he is taking country music by storm.

Hunt’s first album came out in October of last year, but the singles from that album are still topping the charts. Hunt’s song “Take Your Time” is currently number one on the US Country charts.

Although he defines himself as a country artist, listeners of country music are criticizing Hunt for not being country enough. His sound has some rap and hip-hop influences with the way that he talks throughout parts of the song, but he is fusing those elements with country music, expanding his, as well as country music’s, ever-growing fan base.  His “look” does not necessarily fit in with the country music mold, either. Instead of the cowboy hat and boots, Hunt usually dons a baseball cap and t-shirts, aligning him even more so with the hip-hop genre. To learn more about the blending of country music and hip-hop, visit the Country Music Project’s Hick Hop page.

Hunt appearance looking more like a Hip Hop artist's.

Hunt appearance looking more like a Hip Hop artist’s.

However, many times change is a good thing. The blending of the genres here is great for country music because it transitions listeners to explore the genre.  With the added exposure of country music, the genre will by all accounts grow in popularity.  While I think Hunt is pushing those boundaries a bit too far for the traditional genre’s taste, his doing so will be positive for country music as a whole. Being a steady stream of artistry while maintaining a balance of traditional and modern sounds is important when taking on the country music scene. Sam Hunt may be a bit blunt in his attempts to mash up the genres to create great music, but he is in fact creating great music.

Hunt is not new on the scene to making hit songs, though. He helped write hits for country music icons like Kenny Chesney with his song “Come Over,” and Keith Urban with “Cop Car.” He also assisted in writing Billy Currington’s “We Are Tonight.” With Hunt’s vast talent in songwriting, his ability to connect with audiences, and of course his voice, it is no surprise he is an all-star on the charts.

sam-hunt-2014-promo-650x400Sam Hunt has made a name for himself in the country music world. Whether he will continue to follow along that fine line between country and hip-hop, or veer in one direction or the other will be interesting to see. I would like to see him experiment in all directions, in the hopes of finding a comfortable place for him to create music, no matter what genre that may be under. I’m looking forward to seeing what else he has stashed in his pockets and ball cap, but am also thrilled at the way he made waves in the country music scene.  Everything needs to be shaken up from time to time, and Sam Hunt did that by showing his talent, all the while bringing people together to listen to good music.


Filed under Country Subgenres, Hick Hop, Reflection

5 Responses to A Rising Star in Multiple Genres: Sam Hunt

  1. Erin McAtee

    I’m really excited to see where Sam Hunt will go from this starting point in country music, or just in music in general. His sound is controversial to some country listeners, mainly those that want country to divert from the current trends of bro-country and hick-hop and move back to a more traditional sound. What I don’t think these listeners can deny is his talent; his voice has such a unique sound and stands out in a genre where the twang can kind of run together. You’re entirely right on him shaking up country music and I think that “role” in the country sphere will help launch him into more popularity. Maybe it will even make country music more popular!

  2. Daniella

    I had no idea that Sam Hunt helped write songs for Kenny Chesney, Billy Currington, and Keith Urban I thought he was completely new to the music scene. I think its funny how songs that he helped write turned out to be popular and received little to no criticism while music that he released is often criticized for not being country. While I don’t really think Hunt can be considered a country artist just yet, I am excited to see where his music goes in the future. I wonder if he’ll decide to go a completely different route with his music or stick to the genre of country music.

  3. Shannon Smith

    I am really glad you made a post about Sam Hunt. I have been dying to know more about him and how country fans are reacting to his music. I had no clue that he wrote “Come Over,” “We are Tonight,” and “Cop Car,” but after listening to them again I can’t definitely see similarities. The biggest similarity is that these are songs I only had to listen to once and purchased them immediately. I love country music and I often hate when artists try and add a hip-hop vibe, but I think Sam Hunt is doing a great job. I am really excited to see what else he comes out with and interested to look up what else he has written.

  4. Laura Morales

    I really enjoyed reading your post. I am a fan of Sam Hunt and it was really great reading a post that recognized his contribution to country music because a lot of people tend to not support him as a country music artist because of his style. I think Apple music says it best with saying “Rappers aren’t the only ones dropping bomb mixtapes” when describing Hunt’s mixtape. It’s really interesting to see how much the country music genre is evolving and in my opinion it is an okay thing. Even the “older country” started to evolve and in class we’ve discussed how the format changed to include bridges. I am interested to see how country continues to change over the next couple years and see if the evolution to a “poppier” country becomes more accepted or continues to be rejected.

  5. Julie Kleberg

    This is a very interesting post for me because I litterally just finished writing a post that bashed Florida Georgia Line for trying to mix the genres of country and rap/hip hop. It intrigues me how all these newer artists are leaning towards a poppier sound because clearly their producers are telling them that’s how you make money. Sam Hunt seems different though. He seems to actually own his hip hop side in the way he dresses and acts. Other artist like Blake Shelton, I feel, are cheating on their country-ness but I think Sam Hunt is respecfully just bringing something new to the table. Great post!

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