A couple of weeks after Jason Aldean’s country rap “Dirt Road Anthem” went triple-platinum, Taylor Swift was in Nashville shooting a video for an upcoming single “Both of Us” with hip-hop artists B.o.B. to be featured on B.o.B’s upcoming album Strange Clouds.
Swift first shared the spotlight with the Georgia-based rapper in 2011 during the Dallas leg of her “Speak Now” tour, when the two performed a version of B.o.B.’s #1 song “Airplanes” on stage. Taylor also performed with another rapper T.I. in Atlanta during “Speak Now,” who was only 13 days removed from a halfway house.
The “Both of Us” single is not without precedent. Tim McGraw collaborated with girl beater Chris Brown on the song “Human” in late 2008, and Ludacris performed “Dirt Road Anthem” with Jason Aldean on the 2011 CMT Awards. Taylor Swift did make a video with the Auto-tuning T Pain as a gag for the 2009 CMT Awards, but this is her first serious collaboration with a rapper.
The idea behind these collaborations is to cross market the artists to new audiences and as many people as possible. The side effects however can be blurring the lines of contrast in popular American music until regionalism and diversity are bled out completely and all popular music exists in one big homogenized mono-genre, devoid of variety or individualistic taste to maximize profits and marketability throughout the population. As B.o.B. says in the behind-the-scenes video below:
It’s not even a song, it’s more like a project. You know, this is bigger than just B.o.B. and Taylor Swift. This is about all walks of life, about all classes of society. It’s about everybody, really.
This collaboration holds special distinction because Taylor Swift is arguably the most-popular and best-selling artist under the country music flag right now, and she is also the reigning CMA Entertainer of the Year. And even though Taylor does not rap in the song itself, unlike some other country/hip-hop collaborations that have taken on a more R&B flair, this is predominately a rap song.