When Country Rap News first began, I was asked to take on the challenge of researching the origins of the Country Rap genre. I read a lot of stuff and listened to a lot of music reaching back to the 40s. I came up with a collective article that spans across approximately 80 years of time; from the beginning until now. What really stuck out was the fact that the Bellamy Brothers were the first group to ever coin the phrase Country Rap. Yes, the Bellamy Brothers that gave us "Redneck Girl" and "You Ain't Just Whistlin' Dixie".
In '87, the brothers released their 11th studio album entitled "Country Rap". The actual song, "Country Rap" peaked at 31 on Billboard's Country Singles chart. While the Bellamy Brothers did not stick to the style, it was clear that they were an early influence in the genre.
When the duo released their album, "40 Years," in 2015, they re-recorded "Country Rap". However, on the same album, they released another song called "Boobs". In the newer song, the brothers rap again, but clearly in a sarcastic way.
The lyrics say, "People at this honky-tonk, They're about to drive me insane. To tell you the truth, my darlin', you're the only reason I came."
A few lines later, they sing, "They're playing crummy rap music, and there ain't even a band.
Ah, And I wouldn't even be here, But you hold my heart in your hands."
With a final kill shot, the duo raps, "Yo there, brother, we're giving you a shout. Got the bitches in stitches, and we're all hangin' out. Lookin' good in the hood, tell you what it's all about. Shoot that rapper, and let the guitar player play."
The true question here is, do the Bellamy Brothers have a vision for how new "Country Rap" should be, or are they regretful of a trend they may have accidentally started? It's unsure because they put both songs on the same album.
Multiple people ask what the difference is between Country Rap and Hip Hop. Others have asked how Country and Rap can even coexist. I believe part of the answer to these questions are in the song "Boobs". In the lyrics, they state there is no band at the honky tonk. In their song "Country Rap", the band is very audible.
Artists like Ryan Upchurch, Jelly Roll, Moccasin Creek, Struggle Jennings, Apalachee Don, and many others, have been known for traveling with a full band. All these artists definitely "let the guitar player play". Guys like Trap DeVille, Matt "Manchild" Marshall and Travis Tidwell are a few examples of guys known to shred guitars alongside some big country rap names.
Another thing that the Bellamy Brothers make obvious, in the song "Boobs", is the subject matter in which they rap about sarcastically. It is not about country living, at all. It is in no way something that should be in a honky tonk.
Real country rap talks about real country living. In a recent Instagram story, Upchurch said that Country Rap was like Gangsta Rap. You have to be about that life, for real. If not, the fans will smell a fake and call you out.
Ryan Upchurch and the Bellamy Brothers seem to have a similar ideology about music. While they both like to apply other genres in their sound, they also tend to speak their minds on similar situations occurring in music.
January 29th, the Bellamy Brothers released a music video for their single featuring another country legend, John Anderson. It premiered exclusively in an article for The Boot. February 4th, it was released to YouTube. The song, titled "No Country Music For Old Men", speaks about all the legends of country music and how there is no real country music anymore.
In the lyrics, the trio sing, "There ain't no country music for old men. All of the good ones have died or just packed it in. Now there's posers and losers and would-be outlaws who only know how to pretend, But there ain't no country music for old men."
Upchurch would agree with that. In fact, exactly 2 weeks after the YouTube video release of "No Country Music For Old Men", Upchurch spoke about the state of Country music. The sentiments were brought on after Luke Combs apologized for making the video, "Can I Get an Outlaw?" with Ryan. Country Rap News has an article all about the incident. If you happened to have missed it, you can read about here.
Ryan was very vocal in a YouTube video about the situation. He went into detail about how mainstream country singers were begging for forgiveness, and groveling at the feet of big labels, over issues that made them country to begin with.
It's rather ironic that Luke Combs apologized for the music video that gained him popularity in the eyes of his label. It is also strange that the song literally asks if we can get a real outlaw, like the legends of country music. It seems like, in all his fame, he forgot what the lyrics of that song were supposed to mean. The fact that the Bellamy Brothers made a new song that called out all the "posers, losers and would-be outlaws" in the new age country music, only makes it more interesting.
It feels as though the Bellamy Brothers were putting their own call out there for an outlaw to revive the Country music genre. It could be said that Upchurch, and other true Country Rappers like him, is the answer to that search. They may be performing rap at honky-tonks, but it is Country Rap true to the original song performed by the Bellamy Brothers. Most of the Country Rappers are real outlaws. They are flipping the bird to every record label that wants to try to mold them into some poser shadow of themselves. Their music and their country image will remain intact and uncensored as long as they remember where they came from, and the real music behind it.