With names popping up like Jelly Roll, Upchurch, Bubba Sparxxx, Big Smo, Colt Ford, The Lacs, Cowboy Troy and more, you may be wondering how exactly ‘Country Rap’ become a popular music genre. Well we’ve got the answers so let’s get into it.
Here’s the deal. Country rap, also known as hick-hop, is a dynamic fusion of country and hip-hop music that’s gaining significant popularity. While it has exploded onto the airwaves in recent years, it’s worth noting that this genre has been evolving over the past four decades. Buckle up as we dive deeper into the evolution of country rap.
How did Country Rap Begin?
Country rap didn’t just pop out of nowhere. Some folks think it traces back to blues and country singers who added a bit of rap-style talking and storytelling to their tunes way before hip hop was a thing. Artists like Woody Guthrie and Joe Tex laid down the groundwork.
But the actual term “country rap” seems to have been labeled by UGK, a hip hop duo, to describe their unique mix of hip hop, gospel, and blues. They had this distinctive Texas twang and regional flavor that set them apart and set the stage for the country rap scene.
How Country Rap Gained Popularity
Country rap started picking up steam in the ’80s and ’90s with artists like Bubba Sparxxx. He took hip hop beats and rhymes and mixed them with country stories. Hailing from rural Georgia, Sparxxx brought a fresh perspective, blending the rural and urban vibes.
As time rolled on, artists like Colt Ford, Big Smo, and the Lacs jumped into the mix, embracing the fusion of country and hip hop. Their songs often revolve around rural life, jacked-up trucks, drinking, and mudding. While some tracks touch on hot-button issues like political views, country rap is mainly a reflection of the artist’s own experiences.
Despite not getting much love from the mainstream music scene and traditional media, country rap found a huge fanbase. Artists like the Lacs, Colt Ford, and Big Smo achieved commercial success, hitting the top of both rap and country charts.
Social media and streaming platforms played a massive role in country rap’s popularity. Artists and fans could now connect directly through platforms like YouTube, TikTok and Spotify, sidestepping the gatekeepers and reaching a wider audience. With millions of views on their videos, these country rap stars have became heroes in their own lane.
Famous Country Rappers
Country rap gave rise to some big names that left a mark on the genre. Bubba Sparxxx, known for his hit “Ugly,” was one of the genre’s pioneers, drawing attention to the mix of country and hip hop.
Colt Ford, with his unique blend, made it big and even collaborated with mainstream country stars like Jason Aldean. Fans love his music for its authenticity and relatability.
The Lacs, made up of Clay Sharpe and Brian King, became one of the genre’s biggest names, topping charts and pulling in large crowds at live shows.
Big Smo, representing Tennessee, also made a name for himself with his honest storytelling about rural life.
Undoubtedly, one of the most well known figures making waves in the music industry at right now is the country rapper known as Jelly Roll. Jelly Roll has achieved remarkable success in the world of country music, winning awards for his innovative blend of genres. Transitioning from a rapper to a country singer, he recently achieved his second No. 1 hit on the country charts with his track “Need a Favor,” taken from his debut country album. The song also simultaneously made history on the rock charts, as it was the first song ever to hit top 10 on both the Country Airplay and Mainstream Rock Airplay charts, according to Billboard.
The Future of Country Rap
Country rap’s still evolving and it’s bound to face new challenges and chances. The key is blending it with other music styles while keeping that country rap flavor. Artists who push the boundaries will shape what’s next.
With streaming platforms and indie music on the rise, country rap artists have more ways to connect with fans and steer the genre than ever.
So, love it or hate it, country rap’s here to stay, serving up a wild mix of genres and real stories. It’s making its mark on music and culture, and there’s no denying it! Who do you think will be the next country rap star?