It may not be the first collaboration between a country star and hip-hop icon, but it’s sure to be one of the most controversial.
Earlier today, the legendary LL Cool J and country music star Brad Paisley released their cross-over single “Accidental Racist,” in which the two artists go back and forth exploring racial tensions in modern society. However, some of the song’s lyrics has listeners upset regarding Paisley and Cool J’s approach to the subject.
Paisley begins the song recounting an incident in which he wore a Confederate flag t-shirt in a Starbucks, which he attributes to his affinity for Lynyrd Skynyrd. However, the song has already caused controversy over certain lyrics in which Paisley attempts to account for and mediate the South’s history of institutionalized racism.
“I’m just a white man/Coming to you from the southland/Trying to understand what it’s like not to be,” Paisley sings on the hook. “I’m proud of where I’m from/But not everything we’ve done/And it ain’t like you and me can re-write history/Our generation didn’t start this nation/And we’re still picking up the pieces, walking on eggshells, fighting over yesterday/Caught between Southern pride and Southern blame.”
LL offers a different perspective, rhyming that, “Dear Mr. White Man, I wish you understood/What the world is really like when you’re living in the hood/Just because my pants are sagging doesn’t mean I’m up to no good/You should try to get to know me, I really wish you would/Now my chains are gold, but I’m still misunderstood/I wasn’t there when Sherman’s March turned the South into firewood…if you don’t judge my do-rag/I won’t judge your red flag.”
Check out the full song at the top.