If you strung out musical genres on a long continuum, what would the two ends of the spectrum be? Many would probably say that Country and Hip Hop are on opposite poles of the genre spectrum, but I think they would be wrong. As a matter of taste, I don’t listen to Country or Hip Hop very much, but when I have listened to them I notice that they are almost exactly the same. The actual musical styles of these genres are very different, but the content and the message of your typical Country or Hip Hop songs are almost identical. Both genres are primarily concerned with informing the listener about the following things:
- Where the song-writer is from and why they like it there.
- What sort of women the song-writer prefers and why.
- What activities the song-writer enjoys doing with the sort of women he prefers.
- What kind of things the song-writer is proud to own.
- What activities the song-writer enjoys doing when he’s with his guy friends.
In my experience, the vast majority of popular songs in both genres concern themselves with these 5 topics. Whether it’s a young rapper talking about going to the club and grinding on a girl or a mid-20’s guitarist singing about drinking beer on the porch with a farmer’s daughter. In fact, there are almost 1:1 correlations to be found on each of the 5 topics.
- The Country : The Hood
- “Country Girls” : “Club Chicks”
- Driving around in trucks listening to the radio : Going Clubbing
- Trucks and Boots : Escalades and Bling
- Drinking Beer and Spitting Tobacco : Drinking Bicardi and Going to Strip Clubs
And yes, there are songs in both genres that deviate from these central tenets, but they are few and far between on both sides of the aisle. What’s most interesting to me is how many country songs (a genre that prides itself on being wholesome) are unashamedly about sex just like many hip hop songs are. I mean “Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy” is a big hit. Then there’s this song called “Country Girl (Shake it for Me)” which spends 4 minutes requesting that (as you may have guessed) that a girl “shake it” for the singer (but also for squirrels and catfish???). Sure sounds like something Nelly would have written.