It’s not very often that the worlds of country music and hip hop collide. Sure Nelly scored a top 10 hit with his 2004 collaboration alongside country music star Tim McGraw, but few have had much success merging the two genres. Enter country singer Brad Paisley and hip hop legend LL Cool J.
The unlikely duo have come together to break down racial barriers on Paisley’s new genre-bending single, "Accidental Racist." Taking on America’s long history of bigotry, the Grammy Award-winning performers address common stereotypes that still plague today’s society.
"If you don’t judge my du-rag, I won’t judge your red flag," LL raps on the provocative collaboration that has the Internet abuzz.
Paisley has his own struggles as a white man growing up in the South, who is "caught between Southern pride and Southern blame."
"Cause I'm a white man livin' in the Southland / Just like you I'm more than what you see," Paisley sings.
While the song has drawn a collective side-eye from listeners, both artists maintain that their union is no ploy for attention.
"It's not like I'm trying to do a gimmicky thing," LL insisted during a recent interview. “It's not like, 'Oh, the country meets the rapper and it's a hoedown!' It’s none of that. He’s a great singer."
Paisley spoke to Entertainment Weekly about the skepticism coming from social media.
"This isn't a stunt. This isn't something that I just came up with just to be sort of shocking or anything like that," said Paisley. "I knew it would be, but I'm sort of doing it in spite of that, really."
"Accidental Racist" will appear on Paisley’s new album, Wheelhouse, which is out tomorrow. The next collaboration between the two stars is slated for LL’s forthcoming album, Authentic.
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(Photos from left: Mark Davis/Getty Images for NAACP Image Awards, Steven Lawton/Getty Images)