LL Cool J and Brad Paisley: Out of Touch!April 10th, 2013
By Jake Rohn
On their recently released collaboration “Accidental Racist,” LL Cool J and Brad Paisley did something that nobody ever thought possible: They proved that sometimes two positives CAN make a negative. In a benevolent attempt to create a song that would stand as a modern day “Ebony and Ivory,” the country crooner and legendary lyricist took a wrong turn somewhere and made a song that was unforgettable for all the wrong reasons.
Just to be clear, if these two were not extremely talented artists, this would not be a story, and specifically, as a hip hop fan, I will write 20 columns praising James Todd Smith for being one of the most iconic and timeless superstars of our generation, but “Accidental Racist” was too awesomely bad to pass up.
“Dear Mr. White man I wish you understood/What the world is really like when you’re livin’ in the hood,” set the tone for this masterpiece of folly to amuse the younger, more progressive listener while offending the older, anti-rap audience (which probably makes up a decent portion of Paisley’s fan base).
LL continues to speak to a racially ambivalent 1950s audience with, “I wasn’t there when Sherman’s march turned the South into firewood/I want you to get paid but be a slave I never could,” and attempts to appeal to the younger demographic with “Feel like a newfangled Django, dodgin’ invisible white hoods/ So when I see that white cowboy hat, I’m thinkin’ it’s not all good. I guess we’re both guilty of judgin’ the cover not the book I’d love to buy you a beer, conversate and clear the air.”
Paisley comes in as the embodiment of the out of touch white guy with “Tryin’ to understand what it’s like not to be/I’m proud of where I’m from,” bringing to mind what might be if Archie Bunker underwent years of sensitivity training. He continued, “It ain’t like you and me can rewrite history.” All the while, LL is doing his best Spliff Star-esque hype man routine in the background zealously proclaiming, “Can’t rewrite history, baby!”
The two continued awkwardly agreeing with Paisley singing “Oh, Dixieland,” backed by LL saying what just might wind up becoming Waffle House’s new slogan: “The relationship between the Mason-Dixon needs some fixin’”
Recently, LL was emphatic in noting that his latest album, Authentic, was done strictly for the love of music, but after this song, which will be on Paisley’s album, I’m hoping Uncle L goes back to making music for the money.
Though it probably won’t inspire racial harmony, hopefully it will inspire ‘yes men’ to be more honest before letting their friends make songs like this.