There are two kinds of people in the world- those who are more prone to listen to Country, and those who are more prone to listen to Rap. Either way, I do think that those who equally like them both are kinda weird.
My hometown is Fort Payne, Alabama. When I was born, the town wasn’t even on the map yet. But Fort Payne had a secret weapon that would shortly change that for us- a country music band that by 1983 would be a force to be reckoned with: Alabama. The lead singer’s son was in my grade (192 graduating seniors for the entire city) and Randy Owen and the other band members would often drop off their kids at school themselves. And even today, my parents’ house is only a few miles away from a few of the band member’s houses.
Needless to say, I grew up listening to Country music. Not only Country music though- it was just something that got thrown in the mix with everything else. Sort of like the way country music is perceived in Australia and other foreign countries that have a large country music fan base. It’s not so much a mindset that Country music is its own entity- instead, it’s just American music that happens to be recorded in Nashville and Southern-flavored.
And that’s what Country music is to me. Just like any other genre of music- some of it’s really good, some of it’s okay, and some of it is pretty horrible. Some artists are classier, like George Strait and Lady Antebellum; while there are also the self-proclaimed rednecks like Hank Williams, Jr. and Toby Keith. And just for the record, I like certain Country artists from each level of the spectrum. I’m not too sophisticated for “Let’s Talk about Me”, assuming the song is meant to be funny.
Something I have observed is that when you ask a person what kind of music they like, you’ll generally get an answer like this: “Oh, I like pretty much all of it- classic rock, oldies, Motown, hard rock, alternative. I even like a little (Country or Rap), but definitely not (Country or Rap).”
The people who like a little Country music tend to be the ones that will not listen to Rap; the ones that tend to like a little Rap music typically won’t listen to Country. In other words, both Country and Rap music are polar opposites of each other, but the thing they both have in common is that they are both on the edges of mainstream. Of course, there are people out there who pretty much only listen to Country, or only listen to Rap, but I’m talking about everyone else- people like me.
Of the two examples I mentioned, I personally am the kind of person that will say, “I even like a little Country, but definitely not Rap.” It’s not that I don’t think Rap sounds good or that rappers don’t have real talent because they typically don’t play instruments. It doesn’t even bother me that Rap songs often use the choruses of hits from the ‘80’s, instead of coming up with their own.
For me personally, the lyrical content of Rap music is largely irrelevant to my life. It comes across angry, violent, degrading to women, and obsessed with material possessions (I’m overaware I’m not the first person to say that). But for all the millions of Rap fans in the world, there are obviously themes that ring true and connect to their listeners. Rap music is relevant to millions; I’ve just not one of them.
While I didn’t grow up on a farm and wear Wranglers, there is much I can relate to in Country music, like its common themes of love, family, God, and simple living. And as content as I am to listen to John Mayer and Guster and Phil Collins on a 4 hour road trip, it’s always a given that I have to slip in a Brad Paisley album into the mix. Country music provides a lyrical grounding for me in the midst of rock songs which I love, but are better left vague in their meaning (like pretty much anything by Stone Temple Pilots or Smashing Pumpkins).
So there’s my biased opinion. Which is it for you, though? Which musical extreme do you identify with most- Country or Rap? (You can either answer quietly to yourself or in the form of a passionate and/or angry comment below.) I think it’s a pretty interesting and revealing question to ask someone. Like simply asking a person “Batman or Superman?”