Mono-Genre Watch: Taylor Swift Records ‘Both of Us’ Rap w/ B.o.B.
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.
Taylor Swift Should Lead, and Not Follow with Hip Hop
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.
June 22, 2012 @ 12:05 pm
How many guns up Triggerman? 😉
June 22, 2012 @ 12:27 pm
Ha! Well I haven’t actually heard to the whole song yet, just the snippets in the behind-the-scenes video. But I probably won’t be pitching a tent outside of Best Buy to get the first copy of B.o.B’s Strange Clouds.
June 23, 2012 @ 4:20 am
I’m pretty much ignoring this. I rather like rap and rather like country, and I’m sure you can mix them in some reasonable way (what that way is I have no idea. Some artist(s) smarter than me will have to do it). It’s just I’m pretty sure the blender shouldn’t be on the “Commercial” setting.
BTW, I sometimes think instead of “guns up” you should have a “chambers emptied” rating stating how many extra holes you’d like to put in a given record. Just sayin’, feel free to ignore me.
June 24, 2012 @ 1:32 am
you can blend em… its called “Pop Country”
June 24, 2012 @ 10:33 am
It is called Gangstagrass. If you like both genres you will like them, they do the theme song for Justified. I think it is a as successful a blending of hip hop and country (well bluegrass). The group’s producer Rench (who is not a rapper) also has some good solo stuff with country vocals and instrumentation but with a hip hop style back beat, sampling and scratches.
Will everyone like it? No…Will it ever be commercially successful? Probably not.
But it does show that genre blending is possible and still have artistic integrity too it.
June 24, 2012 @ 4:39 pm
A while back I wrote a survival guide to country rap.
In it I said:
“Do not diminish the arguments against country rap by lumping all country rap together. I am sure there has been in the past, and will be in the future, some blends of country and rap that are respectful to the roots of the music, and enjoyable to listen to while not insulting the intelligence of the listener. These projects will likely be ignored by the radio and the industry, but it is not fair to the honesty and heartfelt approach of these artists who are breeding originality through bridging artforms to lump them in with the Jason Aldean”™s of the world.”
This particular Taylor/B.o.B. song is simply rap. There is nothing country about it. And my assertion has always been that as soon as you have rap in country, it ceases to be country at all and just becomes hip-hop which has the history of blending genres that country doesn’t
As for Gangstagrass, I feel it is less of a country/rap blending, and more of a dance mashup. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I think there is an importance difference.
June 22, 2012 @ 1:54 pm
i wouldnt even call this a collaboration its just her singing the chorus in someone elses song which is the same thing she did on john mayers single a few years ago. i wish shed done a true collaboration with kanye or minaj im sure that would have been much more interesting than this song which was just bland and condescending.
this is now officially my favorite swiftie fan blog!!
TX Music Jim
June 22, 2012 @ 3:14 pm
Good God almighty enough already with the Taylor freakin’ Swift. Plus the only thing worse than Taylor Swift is Rap/Hip Hop in general and that especially includes one Colt Ford. Now go see some live music this weekend the stuff worthy of support!
June 22, 2012 @ 4:16 pm
Look Jim (and others), I really appreciate the feedback, and trust me, I understand a lot of folks are tired of seeing Taylor’s name on this site. But in my opinion, it wasn’t a choice for me to cover this story. With a site called “Saving Country Music” and my history covering the formation of the mono-genre and the infiltration of rap into country, it was my obligation to cover it. It just happened to involve Taylor Swift. I don’t control the news cycle. I know I wrote a few elective Taylor Swift articles recently, but I did not wake up this morning planning to talk about Taylor, nor did writing this article somehow shove out coverage some struggling local band I was going to write about. My plan this morning was to not write about anything in fact. And then some news broke.
Trust me when I say I am not insulted when people don’t read certain articles I post. I completely understand this. As part of my job, I go to a dozen website very morning and 90% of the stuff I see I have no interest in reading. But I don’t blame the websites for that. When I pick up a paper or a magazine, some of the articles interest me, some don’t. I don’t read the ones that don’t. I try to write the most compelling articles possible, and try to make them interesting even if people are not engaged or familiar with the subjects themselves.
The last thing I will say as I have said many times before, an article like this will get 10x the traffic that, let’s say, my album reviews from Joe Huber and Tom VandenAvond earlier in the week will. I still write them, and always will, even though they also usually take 3x the time to write, because I believe in covering independent music. Do people leave comments on those articles saying they don’t want to read them? No, they just don’t read them.
I can’t control what people want to read. I always listen to feedback, and do the best I can.
Thank you for reading, and I promise you the independent music coverage will never cease here.
the hill billy muslim
June 22, 2012 @ 6:25 pm
Right on trigger man . And at all cost save country from rap. Any female artist who appears with a rapper looks like a trashy hoe to me. Now I’m gonna see more wholesome little girls date more thug wanna be s . Yuck
June 22, 2012 @ 3:52 pm
You know what you get when you mix country and rap? don’t ya 😀
June 22, 2012 @ 3:54 pm
I’m actually a fan of some of B.O.B’s music, so this could be interesting. Since I don’t even think of Taylor Swift as a country singer, this doesn’t bother me at all. Pop singers and rappers collaborate all the time afterall. Now if George Jones were to collaborate with Lil Wayne, I might get a little worried.
June 22, 2012 @ 3:57 pm
I see Taylor has charmed Trigg. I approve. Whatever reigning CMA and ACM EOTY does is worth reporting. Because as he said…if you like it or not she is the biggest name associated with word country today.
June 22, 2012 @ 7:57 pm
Has any country-rap collaboration in the history of music ever turned a genuine hip-hop fan over to country? The majority of people who buy into this stuff are bored, middle class white people looking to escape. It’s rarely the other way around, rap fans rarely have much to do with this stuff. I think that shows how shallow a lot of this pop country is, when they have to borrow talent from rap.Â
June 22, 2012 @ 8:22 pm
Tour Song Too- Coolzey feat. William Elliott Whitmore and Sadat X
…perfect example of country and hip hop done right.
June 22, 2012 @ 10:18 pm
This is all well and good (and by that, I mean terrible), but I would rather have her collaboration with Lori McKenna.
June 23, 2012 @ 2:45 am
She is rumored to have one on her next record.
June 23, 2012 @ 4:39 am
i’ll be ignoring this one like i ignore the rest of her catalog. though in this case with a little more feeling. what’s next? insane clown posse meets patsy cline? the horror.
June 30, 2012 @ 7:52 am
Even Tammy Wynette recorded a song with The KLF. Just sayin’.