When I first heard about Brad Paisley collaborating with LL Cool J on a tune called “Accidental Racist” for Paisley’s new album Wheelhouse, in stores Tuesday (April 9th), I immediately thought of the humorous novelty tunes Paisley is known for. I also thought the song would be uptempo, but this song is neither. However, it has spawned a lot of controversy.
“Accidental Racist” is a slow bluesy country-rap tune with rap loops that has Paisley singing about his love for the South and the Confederate Flag to a black man. Many are calling this a controversial tune, but I don’t see it that way. Paisley takes a serious tone on the track wanting to put America’s past about slavery and racism behind him.
Perhaps it’s some of the lyrical content that is concerning people such as the chorus:
“From my point of view, I’m a white man livin’ in the Southland
Just like you I’m more than what you see
Trying to understand what it’s like not to be
I’m proud of where I’m from, but not everything we’ve done
And it ain’t like you and me can rewrite history
Our generation didn’t start this nation
We’re still picking up the pieces, walking on egg shells fighting over yesterday
And caught between southern pride and southern blame”
Midway through the track, the music opens for LL Cool J to rap in response to Paisley:
“Dear Mr. White Man, I wish you understood
What the world is really like when you’re livin’ in the hood
Just because my pants are saggin’ doesn’t mean I’m up to no good
You should try to get to know me, I really wish you would”
Cool J continues to rap solo for a few more lines before the pair trade off in typical rap call-and-response fashion with Cool J rapping and often overlapping the singing Paisley.
This wasn’t the collaboration I was expecting from the duo, but that’s not a negative thing. As much fun as Paisley’s humorous tunes are, I’m actually glad to see Paisley tackle a serious subject in a serious manner. It just proves he can fool his audience and take listeners on a detour with the a funny title, but serious lyrical content.
If you think this collaboration is different than many other country collaborations, you’re right, but this isn’t the first time a country artist and rapper have recorded together. Tim McGraw and Nelly teamed up on “Over And Over Again” about a decade ago. I’m not a rap fan, but this is, by far, the better track of the two!
Rating: 4 out of 5