Lil Nas X’s ‘Old Town Road’ Isn’t Country’s First Rap Song by Far [Watch]
Lil Nas X has stirred up a huge amount of debate as to what really constitutes country music with his massive multi-genre hit "Old Town Road." But while some would argue that the track is too rap for country music, the truth is that country music already has a decades-long relationship with the genre.
Some of the biggest mainstream stars in contemporary country music have teamed with rap and hip hop artists for collaborations, including Jason Aldean, Tim McGraw and Florida Georgia Line. But it's not just some of the more contemporary artists; Neal McCoy had a hit that drew from rap, and Hank Williams, Jr., has collaborated with Kid Rock in a way that brought a rap slant into the music.
Even some of country music's older, most legendary artists have flirted with the genre. Though Charlie Daniels' "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" is certainly not rap, it springs from the same "talking blues" tradition of placing spoken words in a rhythmic cadence over the top of an instrumental track. Jimmy Dean did much the same way back in 1961, when he scored a Grammy-winning hit with "Big Bad John." Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton ... even the late great Tammy Wynette has a link to rap music.
The long history of rap in country music is just the latest subject Taste of Country has uncovered in a video series called The Secret History of Country Music. Hosted by Taste of Country News host Ania Hammar, the show takes country music fans deeper inside the stories of country music's biggest hits, moments and figures. Be sure to subscribe to Taste of Country's YouTube channel so you never miss a new episode.
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