I’ve often contended that the thematic similarities between country music and hip hop (as well as punk) – poverty, faith, community, rebellion, redemption, love, an insanely loyal fan-base – have always been there bubbling just under the superficial stylistic surface. Juli Thanki over at PopMatters.com does a great job of fleshing out this concept in her story Who Says Country Can’t Hip-Hop?
Though I’m less impressed with the use of Kid Rock, Cowboy Troy and the Big and Rich creation, the “Muzik Mafia” as well as her “Screwed-Up Genius Who Died Before His Time” theory to tie the two genres -represented here by Tupac Shakur and Hank Williams – to be dubious, and the oversight of excellent artists that represent an appealing mix of the two cultures in their work like Ridley Bent and Buck 65 – I do applaud the article’s direction overall and the focus on House of Pain’s Everlast, the Gourds cover of Snoop Dogg’s “Gin and Juice” and Snoop’s own work with Willie Nelson and his expressed respect for the Man in Black, Johnny Cash.
With full knowledge of the level of loyalty of both genre’s fans, Thanki anticipates much hate mail from her article. If the email assailing does come to be it will just prove that no one hates quite as hotly as close brothers.
Buck 65 – Wicked and Weird
Ridley Bent – The Devil And Coltrane Henry