So somewhere along the line, a very strange, slightly racist, and incredibly awkward brainchild -- aptly named "Accidental Racist" -- appeared to Brad Paisley and LL Cool J. Instead of shoving that idea into the box labeled "Hell no," they decided to record it and put it out into the universe for all to hear.
Yep, you heard that right. A song, called "Accidental Racist," recorded by Brad Paisley and LL Cool J, does indeed exist and is included on Paisley's new album Wheelhouse (out today). And no, it's apparently not a widespread public swatting. It is a very real thing, with very real lyrics, and it's on Paisley's new album, Wheelhouse. Still don't believe me? See the proof below, in all of its six minutes of glory.
The song -- in case you didn't listen above, and I won't blame you if you don't, because it's six minutes of wasted life -- literally begins in a Starbucks with Paisley getting called out by a barista for his Skynyrd shirt that features a rebel flag.
Paisley laments from there about the woes of being "caught between Southern pride and Southern blame," and how "we're still paying for mistakes that a bunch of folks made long before we came."
Um, I'm just going to go out on a limb here and say that wearing a shirt with a confederate flag for which a Starbucks barista calls you out is maybe not the same as paying a price for the sale of human beings.
A little egg on the ol' country-boy face for a poor choice of symbolism? Yes. Price of a human life? Meh. Probably not.
Also, if one is worried about the potential repercussions of repping his or her favorite band's T-shirt, there's a solution of about a thousand Skynyrd shirts sans the whole "controversial rebel flag" thing.
So if you don't want to be deemed an accidental racist by the fool making your skinny vanilla latte, perhaps you should wear the one that isn't featuring a flag that stood for being against the abolition of slavery.
Anyhow, that kind of Southern-pride silliness goes on for about five minutes or so, until good ol' Mr. LL steps in to teach his country homie a lesson on why the hell he needs to stop this accidental-racist weirdness. Unfortunately, he starts it off with the lyrics "Dear Mr. White Man," and it's apparent that we're still headed for a crash course in how to properly cringe.
An influx of even more bizarre word play follows, with LL rapping about the Mason Dixon line needin' some fixin' and saying shit like "RIP Robert E. Lee" and "If you don't judge my do-rag, I won't judge your red flag." I'm sorry, what?
No, LL and Brad, a do-rag and a rebel flag are not on the same level playing field. One is meant to produce waves in your 'do, and the other holds symbolism about keeping folks imprisoned as slaves because they produce more melanin that you do. It's kinda way freaking different.
As confused as I am with why anyone would ever try to wrap Lynyrd Skynyrd, Starbucks, and the words "I'm just a white man/ Coming to you from the Southland/ Tryin' to understand what it's like not to be" into one line of a song, I think Paisley meant this to be an eye-opener -- he was aiming for progressive, in his misguided "check you for ticks" kind of way.
Unfortunately, what he ended up with is an awkward, ham-fisted song that is an offensively drawn-out six minutes long, and features lyrics about do-rags, rebel flags, and iron chains and gold chains. Someone was on that purple drank, methinks. That's real Southern pride, Paisley. Perhaps you should'a been lamenting about that instead.
Also, didn't anyone learn from Tim McGraw and Nelly that country music and hip-hop should just not have babies? I can like both genres in their own right, but something about the weird drumbeats that back the twangy, drawn-out lines about the rebel flag on Paisley's Skynyrd shirt, along with LL's obvious entrance to lessen the potential backlash, make this quite a gaggy combination.
Oh, and one more thing. Remember when LL used to be freakin' hot, or at least a little bit momma said knock you out-ish? Nothing, dare I say NOTHING, is hot about rapping about the Mason-Dixon line.
How I yearn for the LL days of old. Pick up a peach next time, not a misguided country anthem about how hard it is to be a white man. I promise it'll go over better.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.