In case you hadn't heard, country crooner Brad Paisley and rapper LL Cool J collaborated on a song called "Accidental Racist"—yes, this is a real thing—and the lyrics are exactly what you would imagine.
"If you don't judge my do-rag," LL says, "I won't judge your red flag." And although some lines make you raise an eyebrow and question whether or not this is a practical joke (and to clarify once again—it's not), the track's overall message, as controversial as it may seem, is a good one, which Paisley explained to Entertainment Weekly.
"At this point, after all these albums and all these hits, I have no interest in phoning it in, and I think that [the song] comes from an honest place in both cases, and that's why it's on [his album Wheelhouse] and why I'm so proud of it," Paisley said.
"This isn't a stunt. This isn't something that I just came up with just to be sort of shocking or anything like that. I knew it would be, but I'm sort of doing it in spite of that, really.
"I'm doing it because it just feels more relevant than it even did a few years ago. I think that we're going through an adolescence in America when it comes to race. You know, it's like we're almost grown up. You have these little moments as a country where it's like, ‘Wow things are getting better.' And then you have one where it's like, ‘Wow, no they're not.'"
The country star pin-pointed feature films Lincoln and Django Unchained as two primary examples that show racism is still a prominent issue in our nation today, and says that art "has a responsibility to lead the way" to finding some answers by asking the right questions.
"How do I show my Southern pride? What is offensive to you? And [LL Cool J] kind of replies, and his summation is really that whole let bygones be bygones and ‘If you don't judge my do rag, I won't judge your red flag.' We don't solve anything, but it's two guys that believe in who they are and where they're from very honestly having a conversation and trying to reconcile," Paisley explains.
And to think, this all started because of "the man that waited on me at the Starbucks down on Main," who seemingly got offended by a Lynyrd Skynyrd T-shirt.
The duet, which appears on Paisley's ninth studio album Wheelhouse, will be available for purchase tomorrow.