The world was graced with some new and exiting, Billy Ray Cyrus greatness three days ago. On Tuesday February 11th, Buck 22 A.K.A Damon Elliott released a country rap remix of Cyrus’ hit “Achy Breaky Heart”. That night our writer Danielle emailed the link to the video for the aptly titled remix “Achy Breaky 2” to the staff of B.G.M. writers asking for everyone’s reaction, the response was so entertaining and thought provoking that I figured it was worth publishing on the site. Watch the video and read our reactions below:
Danielle: Thanks Billy Ray, you’ve ruined space for me now.
Milner: Country rap is this weird new thing I admittedly don’t get: I heard a Florida Georgia Line song in the summer where Nelly had a verse and while I didn’t hate it, it’s not something up my alley. Then again, I think it’s funny that the two genres people say they never like (“everything but country and rap,” as the kids put on their OK Cupid profiles) are finally coming together! You got peanut butter in my chocolate! No you got Nelly in my Florida Georgia Line! You know what I mean.
Danielle: I guess I would listen to this if I was bikini bull riding ….
Phil: In very related news apparently RiFF RAFF is making country music now…it all comes full circle.
Jon: This video is terrifying and amazing all at the same time!
Dan: I believe in RiFF RAFF – I know his rhymes are true. And I believe country music needs him even more than hip hop does.
David: Imagine country-dubstep. Makes my head hurt just thinking about it.
John: Ezekial 25:17 …looking forward to knowing whose name is The Lord.
Nate: Other than the sheer absurdity of it all, I think what’s most interesting in the Billy Ray Cyrus video is the co-option of the relatively explicit sexualization of women’s bodies – something that is quite everyday in hip-hop culture, but I doubt there are very few country music videos with a line-up of naked young women shakin’ their junk (although I rarely if ever watch country music videos).
John: Toss in that it’s entirely possible he first had the thought to include those naked young women shakin’ their junk in his video based on the way people were responding to his own daughter’s public sexual awakening, and you see further evidence that this is a very unfortunate moment in the history of American pop culture, from which we should all run as fast and as far as possible.
Danielle: I’m grateful he did not include said daughter in the video. Besides mentioning her name … Which was upsetting. I’m sending the crew of Battlestar Galactica to kick these freaks outta space
Dan: Danielle, wait, think about this for a minute. If you kick them out, then there won’t be any raps in space anymore! Space needs raps, Danielle. SPACE. NEEDS. RAPS.
Danielle: Space doesn’t need raps…. They have this: http://youtu.be/DFoz29COLbs And David Bowie. They have everything they need.
Nate (after wasting several hours reconsidering the issue): This latest expression of rap and country musical fusion doesn’t seem bizarre just because of the inorganic paring of largely irrelevant representatives of their genres (Miley Cyrus’ dad and Dionne Warwick’s son), and the reworking of a stupid song to make it even less tolerable. The two musical genres also share a much more fundamental conflicting difference stemming from the social reasons for their significance. The origins of hip hop culture arose from the Bronx a few decades after the devastation wrought upon the NYC borough by the construction of the Cross Bronx Expressway thrusting the inhabitants into insufficient project housing and destroying their economic infrastructure. In this social context, hip hop culture was/is a response by the urban male to the emasculation, disenfranchisement, and poverty they have been powerless to address. Rap as a reflection of this culture is about masculine empowerment among a population that has suffered through social and economic inequalities and left to squalor in urban settings from which there is little chance of rising. The coupling of hip hop with country music (a genre that generally espouses white masculine power and privilege and directs its lyrical interest to consuming alcoholic beverages, truck driving, and unrequited love), robs hip hop culture of its primary social narrative (empowering the powerless) rendering itself culturally meaningless. The sum of country-rap, as expressed in the absurd Billy Ray Cyrus video, illuminates the worst of what much of contemporary pop culture honors – a hollow construction doctored up with sexually provocative images in order to attract teenage boys and distract the public of its emptiness. Anyway, under the contemporary state of pop cultural fakery and fabrication currently at large (watch any episode of any reality television program for evidence), country-rap is sure to become a huge success.
Isaac: Wrecking Ball!!!
As you can see it was a highly enlightening and hilarious conversation. However, I’m not quite sure we accomplished anything or came to any real conclusion on what this ridiculous song and video means to the world. What I do know is the we have all been affected by it and our musical reality’s will never be the same again.