Kid Rock and 22 examples of hick-hop's evolution
Courtesy of kidrock.com
Country rap, or "hick-hop" as it's sometimes called, may seem to capture either the height of musical irony, or the height of its stupidity. Probably both. But in the book The Accidental Evolution of Rock 'n' Roll, prolific music journalist Chuck Eddy traces the sub-genre's roots all the way back to an artist as respected as Woody Guthrie. When you think about it, the intersection is not all that improbable, considering both forms have more or less trickled down from the same larger stream of American music. From an emphasis on recitation to a love for one's mama, the two genres might just be a match in musical heaven.
The sub-genre's most popular practitioner, Kid Rock, will play to a sold-out audience on Sunday at, of all places, Mystic Lake Casino, a venue most often populated by fans of country, throwback rock, and comedy. In celebration of his visit we present to you examples of hick-hop's evolution, from roots country to the twangy rap of today.
Blind Willie Johnson "If I Had My Way, I'd Tear the Building Down" (1927)
This song is twice as old as the 41-year-old Kid Rock, and hits harder than a freight car filled with middleweight boxers.
Weh-ell/ Samson's trick though they never found out/ 'Til they began to wonder about/ A'til his wife sat up upon his knee/ 'A-tell me where your strength lie, if you please?
Woody Guthrie "Talkin' Dust Bowl Blues" (1940)
Woody's flow is remarkable.
Way up yonder on a mountain road/ I had a hot motor and a heavy load/ I was a goin' pretty fast and wasn't even stoppin'/ I was a bouncin' up and down like a'popcorn poppin'
/ Had a breakdown/ Sort of a nervous bustdown of the ahhh/ Mechanism there of some kind of/ Engine trouble.
Roger Miller "My Uncle Used to Love Me But She Died" (1966)
No, that title is not a typo.
Who'll bid me quarter, thirty cents for a ring of keys/ Three sixty-five for a dollar bill of groceries/ I'll have me a car of my own someday but 'til then I'll need me a ride/ My uncle used to love me but she died.
Charlie Daniels "Uneasy Rider" (1973)
By the '70s, Daniels fully brought storytelling into a new bizarre realm with seedy characters with green teeth.
And when I hit the ground I was makin' tracks/ And they were just taking my car down off the jacks/ So I threw the man a twenty and jumped in and fired that mother up.
Bob Dylan "Subterranean Homesick Blues" (1965)
You know the lyrics.
You know the lyrics.
Jerry Reed "Alabama Wild Man" (1972)
Rapping about getting filthy rich is not something that came into vogue in the Diddy era.
Well now I'm driving Cadillacs a city block long/ And the Alabama Wild Man can do no wrong/ 'Cause I'm selling them records and I'm working them shows/ And people love me everywhere I go.
Johnny Bond "Hot Rod Lincoln" (1960)
Ditto for driving around in ridiculous cars.
Then all of a sudden a rod started knockin'/ An' down in the dip she started to rockin'/ I looked in the mirror an' a red light was blinkin'/ The cops was after my hot rod Lincoln.
Lorne Greene "Ringo" (1964)
Ditto for gun-toting crime narratives.
I blocked the path of his retreat/ He turned and stepped into the street/ A dozen guns spit fire and lead/ A moment later, he lay dead.
C.W. McCall "Convoy" (1975)
Iowa native C.W. McCall was mayor of Ouray, Colorado, for six years, and hearing his distinctive booming voice, it's damn near impossible to imagine not voting for him.
There's armored cars and tanks and jeeps'n' rigs of ev'ry size/ Yeah, them chicken coops was full of bears/ And choppers filled the skies/ Well, we shot the line, we went for broke/With a thousand screamin' trucks/ And eleven long-haired friends of Jesus/ In a chartreuse microbus.
Johnny Cash "A Boy Named Sue" (1969)
Made performing in prison cool. 'Nuff said.
I said: "My name is 'Sue!' How do you do! Now you're gonna die!!"
Beck "Where It's At" (1996)
Beck has mutated more times than one could count since Odelay, but there are few examples of rapping and countrified flair working so well together as this one.
There's a destination, a little up the road/From the habitations and the towns we know/A place we saw the lights turn low/The jig-saw jazz and the get-fresh flow
Kid Rock "Cowboy" (1999)
Resistance is futile.
Kid Rock and I'm the real McCoy/ And I'm headin' out west sucker...because I wanna be a Cowboy, baby.
Jason Aldean "Dirt Road Anthem" (2011)
Although Aldean is embraced by the modern country set, he's basically applied a Nashville window dressing to a hip-hop song. And he sings the hook!
King in the can and the Marlboro man/ Jack 'n' Jim were a few good men/ Where you learned how to kiss and cuss, and fight too/ Better watch out for the boys in blue.
Colt Ford "Country Thang" (2011)
No, this is not Kenny Powers.
Known my girl since she was fourteen/ She's the first runner up to the Hart County Cotton Queen/ She was raised on cornbread, purple hull peas/ She turns 'em heads at the feed 'n seed.
Toby Keith "I Wanna Talk About Me" (2001)
Yep, Toby Keith can lay some bars.
We talk about your dreams and we talk about your schemes / Your high school team and your moisturizer creme / We talk about your nana up in Muncie, Indiana/ We talk about your grandma down in Alabama.
Bellamy Brothers "Country Rap" (1987)
Imagine if they had dropped this BEFORE Licensed to Ill. They almost did.
Saturday night we're gonna go get drunk/ Something in the road smells like a skunk/ Steel guitars rowdy bars/Redneck girls and beat-up cars/ We got fatback that's a fact/ And if you don't know that's a country rap.
Cowboy Troy feat. Big & Rich "I Play Chicken With the Train" (2005)
So Cowboy Troy might be the only one on this list who self-identifies as hick-hop, and it sounds like he likes Chuck D. Huh.
Speak clearly what I'm sayin' so you'll comprehend/ Hit the net for hick-hop radio, tune in/ Rollin' like thunder on the scene/ It's kinda hard to describe if you know what I mean/ I never claimed to be the hardest of the roughest hard rocks/ But I'm boomin' out yo' box/ Skills got you jumpin' outch'a socks/ From Texas here I come, movin' yo body with a bass kick drum.
Bubba Sparxxx "Deliverance" (2003)
With the help of frequent producer Timbaland, Bubba Sparxxx had a brief run in the mainstream with his raw, Southern country vibe.
I've been travelin for some time/ With my fishin' pole and my bottle of shine/ On these long dark dusty roads/ Lookin' there's nowhere to go/I guess I gotta hide away, far away.
Nappy Roots "Po' Folks" (2002)
All the soulfulness of Outkast, but a result with rural flavor.
All my life been po'/ But it really don't matter no mo'/ And they wonder why we act this way/ Nappy Roots gon' be okay, okay.
The Lacs "Kickin' Up Mud"
Rapping about hunting should happen more -- for how much rap gets played during hunting.
30.06 on my back gun rack/ See a whitetail buck put him on his back/ 7mm or 12 gauge shotty/ We ain't tryin' to get drunk or hurt nobody/ Lordy lordy you got a sexy body/ Just get muddy and shake it shawty/ Crunk in the mud slap getting' drunk/ Dirty dancing kickin' up mud.
Struggle feat. Yelawolf & Waylon Jennings "Outlaw Shit"
Featuring Waylon Jennings? Hell yeah -- Struggle is Waylon Jennings' grandson, if his video with a new take on Grandpa's song doesn't belabor the point sufficiently.
Bobbie Gentry "Fancy (Don't Let Me Down)"
Pro Tip: Sign up to sing Bobbie Gentry's "Fancy" at karaoke sometime, but rap the tune. It's way easier than trying to keep up with the cadence of Gentry's original vocals, and might just get you kicked out of a bar up north, assuming the crowd's not yet caught on to hick-hop.
Kid Rock. Sold Out. Sunday, July 15 at Mystic Amphitheater.
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