|Stylistic origins||Country music, hip hop music|
|Cultural origins||1990s Southern, West Coast, Southwestern, Midwestern|
|Typical instruments||Vocals, guitar, bass, drums, drum machines, fiddle, steel guitar|
|Alternative hip hop|
Country rap began to form as a genre when Bubba Sparxxx and producer Shannon "Fat Shan" Houchins created Sparxxx's 2001 debut album Dark Days, Bright Nights as an independent release which was later re-released on Interscope Records. The trend continued in 2005 when country artists Big & Rich introduced Cowboy Troy to the country world via 2005's "Loco Motive" released on Warner Brothers, which reached #2 on Billboard's Top Country Albums chart. Coming off the success of Bubba Sparxxx's platinum album debut, Houchins soon after created Average Joes Entertainment with country rapper Colt Ford. This was the beginning of country rap taking its place as a real and separate genre while at the same time influencing mainstream country. Colt Ford has sold over 1.5 million albums including 4 that have landed in the top 10 of Billboard's Country Music chart. Ford's 2012 "Declaration Of Independence" debuted at #1 on Billboard's Country Chart and his 2014 album "Thanks For Listening" debuted at #1 on the Billboard Rap Chart making him the only artist in history to have #1 albums on both Billboard Country and Rap Charts, proving that country rap is a true genre and spawning a slew of new artists. The Lacs and Lenny Cooper have both sold well. The Lacs' third album "Keep It Redneck" debuted #3 on Billboard's Country Chart in August 2013 proving further country rap's popularity as a new genre.
Other artists of this genre include Moonshine Bandits, Jawga Boyz, Big Smo, 3 & 20, Demun Jones, Charlie Farley, Cap Bailey, Moccasin Creek, Twang & Round, Bottleneck, Redneck Social Club, I4NI, The Maverick Mikel Knight, Sarah Ross, J Rosevelt, Nappy Roots, Redneck Souljers, and Cypress Spring among others.
Country tradionalists Toby Keith, Trace Adkins and Blake Shelton have since adapted a country rap style in recent years.
Traditional country artists who have rapped or collaborated with rappers
Country music in the way of talking blues style no doubt has been a huge influence of Rap since the 70s, by example "Talkin Blues" performed by Woody Guthrie (1947) and the famous 1961 hit "Big Bad John" performed by Jimmy Dean. Certain individual country music songs show a hip hop influence, such as Toby Keith's singles "Getcha Some" and "I Wanna Talk About Me," which feature spoken-word verses recited over an insistent rhythm. The same style applies to The Bellamy Brothers' 1987 single "Country Rap." Neal McCoy has also recorded a hip hop version of the theme song of The Beverly Hillbillies called "Hillbilly Rap," which includes samples from other hip hop songs. American musician Everlast is often known to fuse the two genres.
In September 2004, American hip hop recording artist Nelly released "Over and Over", a collaboration with American country singer-songwriter Tim McGraw; the song peaked at number three on the US Billboard Hot 100. Jason Aldean had a number-one country hit in 2011 with "Dirt Road Anthem," which was originally done by country-rapper Colt Ford and country-rock singer Brantley Gilbert. The song was featured on his album My Kinda Party. A remixed "Dirt Road Anthem" featuring rapper Ludacris was played at both the 2011 CMT Music Awards and the 2011 Grammy Nominations Concert.
American rapper B.o.B and country singer Taylor Swift also collaborated for a country rap song titled "Both Of Us", in 2012. Swift did some vocals, mainly the chorus in a country rhythm and B.o.B performed it as a hip-hop song with some banjo guitars in the background. A similar song was made by British rapper Rae featuring featured vocals from an Unknown featured artist. It features a dubstep backing over the verses, similar to that of B.o,B's "Both Of Us" and a country-written chorus sung by a Swift-sounding performer.
Differentiating country rap from Southern hip hop
Country rap is often confused with Southern hip hop. The best way to separate them is that "country rap" is composed of country artists that rap about country lifestyle themes in the manner a traditional Country music artist would sing about similar subject matter while southern hip hop artists have more of a traditional hip hop mentality in their lyrics but come from Southern and/or rural regions of the United States.
Examples of Southern Rappers: The Geto Boys, 8Ball & MJG, Outkast, Ludacris, UGK. T.I., Young Dro.
Examples of Southern rappers who are often mistaken for Country Rappers include: Yelawolf, Boondox, Nappy Roots, Big K.R.I.T.
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