Hick Hop: Southern sound with an urban beat

Aena Cho

Country music has been a huge influence of hip hop or dance music since the 70s.  Particularly, many country music artists have incorporated some elements of hip hop/ dance music, mostly rap, to their music.  One of the best examples would be “Dirt Road Anthem” (2011) by Jason Aldean, an American country singer.  It is definitely a country song with little bit of rapping included.

Since the 90s, a new musical genre, country rap, began to form as a subgenre blending country music with many different elements of hip hop music-style rapping, also known as hick-hop.  “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” (2005) by Trace Adkins, an American country musician, is a great example of transgressing the genre boundaries between the southern country music and urban hip hop. Unlike “Dirt Road Anthem”, it is indeed well-balanced blurring of the two genres; it surely cannot be recognized only as either one of country or hip hop / dance music.  A fast up beat of hip hop dance music is placed under the vocal and twangy electric guitar lines, which are definitely country style.  In the middle, you can hear sounds of a loud synthesizer and a brief interlude of distorted vocal samples which also allude to hip hop dance music.  Actually, the song incorporates not only hip hop dance music but also a variety of sounds including techno and funk.  Meanwhile, the lyrics are much closer to those of hip hop songs with various sexual puns.  Each element of the songs, vocals, rhythms, lyrics, instruments, and techniques comes from each different genre; once they are combined together; they create a very different, unique genre of music, with new sounds and meanings.

Actually, to me, the song’s music video which also conjoins country music and hip hop cultures was more interesting. It sets in a bar and features men with cowboy style jeans and hats, including Adkins with lots of bedizened female dancers who look like those in hip hop dance music videos.  Lights flash around the men and dancers who mingle and dance together.  These overtly sexualized scenes definitely refer to hip hop “club” videos.

Music Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNVguvNE7qc


1.” Country rap”. Wikipedia. < https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Country_rap>.

2. Engh. Dwayne. “Musical Cultures: To What Extent is the Language Used in the Song Lyrics of Hip-hop and Country Music Reflective of and Shaped by Cultural Beliefs and Experiences?” International Journal of English Linguistics. Vol 3, No 5, 2013.

3. Adkins, Trace. “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk”. Songs About Me. Oct, 2005. Capitol Records Nashville.