Brad Paisley’s “Accidental Racist” is perhaps one of the most controversial songs in country music.
It was released off Paisley’s 2013 studio album Wheelhouse in “an interesting conversation between country music and rap music.” And the country singer did not expect his collaboration with hip hop artist LL Cool J to become a point of controversy.
The Country-Rap Song That Stirred The Waters
Written by Brad Paisley with LL Cool J and Lee Thomas Miller, “Accidental Racist” covers Paisley’s struggle to deal with the racism issues as a white man in the South who feels like people are “walking on eggshells” and “fighting over yesterday” whenever the subject comes up.
Paisley, who is currently living in Tennessee with his wife and two boys, feels like people are still “paying for the mistakes that a lot of folks made long before we came.” He finally wants to put America’s brutal past behind him.
“I don’t know how many of you have noticed, but we’ve had some racial tensions in the last few 150 years. I’m not content to let the media or the talkers or Hollywood deal with this anymore,” Paisley said. The films Lincoln and Django Unchained were also the inspirations of the song.
“It’s music’s turn to state our cases and maybe ask the questions. I don’t know if we answer anything in this song. But we might ask the question for the first time, and maybe that’s the first step.”
Unfortunately, the song has received an incredible amount of criticism. The New York Times called it “the worst kind of agitprop” that is “hard to swallow.” Many individuals also took to Twitter to voice their opinions, making #AccidentalRacist a trending topic. Its video was also pulled out of YouTube.
Paisley admitted that he was not expecting the uproar it created.
“The whole thing took me by surprise in this sense: This was a deep album cut on a country record. I didn’t know it was possible for an album cut to make the news, let alone to be headline news,” Paisley thought.
Despite the tension involving “Accidental Racist,” the country singer said he wouldn’t change a thing and hoped fans would instead give him the benefit of the doubt.
“This is a record meant to be FAR from easy listening. But fun. Like Life,” Paisley wrote in a string of tweets. “So, as you buy this album, I hope it triggers emotions. I hope you feel joy, heartache, triumph, surprise; you laugh, cry, nudge someone beside you . . . I hope this album rocks you, soothes you, raises questions, answers, evokes feelings, all the way through.”
If there’s one thing Paisley is more upset about is that the song was not intended to hurt as he wrote it to heal. So, in a sense, the message of “Accidental Racist” is doing the contrary, and Paisley learned a lot from that.
“The most surprising and upsetting thing was being thought of by some as a racist,” Paisley proclaimed. “I have no interest in offending anyone — especially anyone in the African-American community. That song was absolutely, earnestly supposed to be a healing song. One hundred percent.”
LL Cool J also came to Paisley’s defense. He explained that the song was intended to get people talking about racism and clarified the line about forgetting the iron chains. “I’m not advising anybody to truly forget slavery,” LL Cool J said. “But what I am saying is forget the slavery mentality, forget the bitterness.”
Listen to the controversial song in the video below.
Brad Paisley, LL Cool J