Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Dig This: A Hip-Hop Outlaw

Or perhaps a country gangsta would be a better term? I wouldn't classify Rap or Hip-Hop as one of my favorite genres of music and I would say that is mainly due to the fact that I didn't grow up in a huge metropolitan area. Over the years though I've gained an appreciation for it particularly when it is blended with other music forms that I enjoy more.

An excellent example is the Aerosmith & Run DMC remake of Walk This Way back in the 80s. Just a few days ago I posted a link to Steve Earle's performance of Satellite Radio. It's a rather unique combination of Earle's excellent steel guitar picking backed only by a beat box DJ. And in recent years two bluegrass bands have performed excellent covers of some funky African-American tunes. Bruce Hornsby, Ricky Skaggs, and John Anderson did a remake of Rick James' Superfreak while The Gourds recorded Snoop Dogg's Gin 'n Juice.

Today I had my proverbial sitting cushion kicked old school. It seems the aforementioned Snoop Dogg has gone country and it's damn good! Snoop is definitely one of the Hip-Hop artists Joan & I listen to. The guy is obviously intelligent, clever, and has a great sense of humor. A few years ago I read an article where he stated that he really liked country music - not necessarily the modern flavor of the week in Nashville but the guys on the cutting edge. The Outlaws.

Well Snoop De-Oh-Double-Gee has put his money where his mouth is...literally if you understand the gist of the song. He teamed up with Everlast (aka Whitey Ford) to write a country song including performances by Willie Nelson and Brad Paisley. Ironically I've always considered Snoop Dogg to be the Willie Nelson of Rap music for obvious reasons.

The song includes a tip of the hat to Johnny Cash and part of the video was shot on the front steps of the shack located on the Cash estate that was turned into a studio. Johnny's American series, his last 6 albums, were recorded there. In research for this post I found out that Everlast has covered Folsom Prison Blues which will appear on his next album. Also I found a video of Snoop being interviewed by Conan O'Brien who asked him about calling Johnny Cash the original "gangsta." Dogg's reply was perfect by saying (not verbatim) all those guys back then would walk into a bar, get involved in a brawl, and after getting out of jail would write a song about it. That's about as gangsta as it gets.

I hope you enjoy it as much as we have (Joan's already requested a download).

If you have trouble using the YouTube link above then click here.

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