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Country Rap

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A fusion of Hip-Hop and Country Music. Sometimes called Hick Hop; artists in the genre are divided on that name.

This fusion has been traced back to before Hip Hop was even invented, as a lot of blues and country artists displayed vocal styles which were similar to rapping; in turn, various R&B and soul artists were influenced by country. One journalist traced the origins of Country Rap to Woody Guthrie. Some spoken-word songs by the Sons of the Pioneers also have rap-like elements, while Joe Tex is believed to have actually coined the term "rap" to describe his vocal style in the 1960s. Talking blues was another predecessor, as it involved half-spoken, half-sung vocal performances performed in rhyming couplets with a defined rhythm and a typically freeform and un-rhymed fifth line at the end of each bar over a minimalist but insistent backing track.

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Hip Hop and Country music have been fused in different variations since the 1980s - one of the more notable early efforts is The Beastie Boys sampling from the Deliverance soundtrack on their 1989 album Paul's Boutique, and De La Soul using a sample from Parliament's "Little Ole Country Boy" for the chorus of "Potholes in My Lawn", in the same year. Some modern Country artists have incorporated Hip Hop influences into their music, and collaborated with popular rappers, and there are also artists devoted primarily or solely to Country Rap fusions.

For readers interested in a more in-depth look at the formation of the Country Rap scene, Rolling Stone wrote a worthy article on it that can be read here.


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Examples

  • The Bellamy Brothers' 1987 single "Country Rap," which coincidentally shares its name with this trope. The song just missed the top 30 of the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart, and was just one way brothers Howard and David experimented with other styles and genres in their music; for instance, "Get into Reggae Cowboy" — which used (guess what) reggae as its main beat — became a top 20 country hit in 1982.
  • Blanco Brown, scored a top 20 hit in 2019 with "The Git Up".
  • Boondox
  • Bubba Sparxxx, particularly his hit single "Ugly", is considered one of the major inspirations of the modern country rap scene. It's worth noting that Bubba considers himself straight hip hop, and is not particularly a fan of the country rap scene in general, to the point of requesting not to be associated with it.
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  • Colt Ford
  • Cowboy Troy, including his guest raps with Big and Rich
  • Froggy Fresh
  • Nappy Roots
  • Everlast dabbles in this genre sometimes. A recent album included a cover of Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues", which incorporated Hip-Hop samples and scratching, including the beat from Cypress Hill's "Insane in the Brain".
  • Kid Rock mixed this with other fusions.
  • Country singer Neal McCoy recorded a hip-hop version of The Beverly Hillbillies theme song for The Movie.
  • Stitch Mouth
  • Snoop Dogg recorded a Country Rap called "My Medicine". It featured guest vocals by Willie Nelson and production by Everlast.
  • Toby Keith's singles "Getcha Some" and "I Wanna Talk About Me" are examples, keeping country instrumentation but using quick, spoken lyrics.
  • Jason Aldean's "Dirt Road Anthem" is a cover of a song co-written by Colt Ford. Yes, it keeps the rap part intact. And Jason took it to the extreme by remixing it with Ludacris.
  • While not a direct example, Montgomery Gentry's "If You Ever Stop Loving Me" has a turntable scratch in it.
  • Some people argue that Charlie Daniels' "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" was the first rap song. Think about it.
    • Predated by CDB's "Uneasy Rider", which is entirely spoken with just a musical background as opposed to alternating sung/spoken parts.
    • CDB loved this trope; other examples are "Legend of Wooly Swamp" and "Stroker Ace".
  • CW McCall's "Convoy" and "Wolf Creek Pass" are also arguably early examples of rap.
  • Tim Wilson played it for laughs on "Hillbilly Homeboy".
  • Brother Ali's "Uncle Sam Goddamn" has a blues-influenced beat that helps it criticize the U.S. government for its involvement in the slave and the crack cocaine trade and for its failure to provide for the poor.
  • "Ready Set Roll" by Chase Rice has a rapid-fire rap in the second verse and overall strong hip-hop beat.
  • Florida Georgia Line do some rapping in the second verse of "This Is How We Roll".
  • Cledus T. Judd has "Gone Funky", a parody of Alan Jackson's "Gone Country" that has three displaced country artists turning to rap (basically making it an inversion of the original). The chorus has a rap production to it as well.
  • Travis Shredd is a Seattle area band that started when a music teacher was dared to mix country, metal, and rap. The novelty act has such songs as "Neighbor of the Beast" (about Satan living in the next trailer over in the trailer park) and "My Ex-wife's Lawyer is the Antichrist."
  • Speaking of Johnny Cash, he dabbled in this sometimes. One of his most famous songs was the novelty country rap song "A Boy Named Sue".
  • There's also Big Bad John by Jimmy Dean
  • Hot Rod Lincoln is a very famous country rap song originally recorded by Charley Ryan and the Livingston Bros., but made famous by Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmennote 
  • The Most Unwanted Song features an opera singer rapping about Western themes
    Yo, yo, I'm a cowboy now
  • Lil Nas X's 2019 viral hit "Old Town Road" became controversial due to Billboard choosing to pull it off the Hot Country Singles chart (and related component charts) after determining that it did not meet the requirements for the genre.
    • Had "Old Town Road" continued to be allowed to chart country, speculation was that the song would have reached No. 1, after a remix featuring vocals from Billy Ray Cyrus charted in its one-and-only week at No. 19. Had that happened, several longstanding chart records would have been broken, namely that Lil Nas X would have become the youngest solo male artist, at 19 years and 11 months, to have a No. 1 on the chart (beating out Hunter Hayes, who at 21 years old set the record with "Wanted" in 2012). Also, the song would have become the first to top all three of Billboard's major charts — Hot 100, Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and Hot Country Songs — since the Everly Brothers' "Bird Dog" in 1958, and given Cyrus his first No. 1 song (albeit as a featured artist) in nearly 27 years (after "Achy-Breaky Heart" topped the chart in 1992). While the version that would have gone to No. 1 (the Cyrus remix) clocked in at 2:37, the original version was just 1:53, and only a handful of country songs that reached No. 1 are shorter. note  As it was, "Old Town Road" became one of the first songs to gain widespread acceptance by audiences from hip-hop/R&B, country and mainstream pop music in more than 30 years; one of the last examples beforehand was country singer Earl Thomas Conley's duet with Anita Pointer (of the R&B group the Pointer Sisters) on "Too Many Times" in 1986.

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