To call Drawde’s single, “Redneck In Me” a hip hop song, by any measure or standard that even remotely matters to anyone, is a stretch. To put it mildly. It borders on a full blown affront to hip hop as an art form and as a culture in its own right. This song is an experiment in fusing two polar opposing musical genres, in the most haphazard possible way, and unsuccessfully attempts to straddle the fence between two traditionally unrelated corners of the music market where audience overlap is next to nonexistent.
Music made for everyone is music made for no one. Individuality means we are not going to feel represented by or relate personally to some one-size-fits-all mashup of all musical styles. That’s a great idea for humanity, but terrible for music. I find the complete fusion of two genres a real concern to the integrity of music as an art form, however, the mere Infusion of musical nuance is almost always ok, and furthermore artists who experiment with infusions of other musical styles, report enjoying even greater creative yields.
Full on fusion-songs almost never work. In the case of Drawde’s fusion-attempt, his song, “Redneck in Me” is, unsurprisingly, not an exception to the rule. This song just doesn’t work. After the miraculous-success of fusion sensation, “Old Town Road” by LiL Nas, I half expected to start seeing more attempts at this nearly impossible undertaking. Nobody knows how or why “Old Town Road” works so well — but I do know it is rare that it happens, and it is likely it won’t happen again for some time. After all, lightning doesn’t tend to strike the same place twice. Drawde just needs to figure out which genre speaks to him as an individual, and then make that kind of music, so that it keeps speaking to individuals. So that it stays individual. Music should belong to everyone, but it should make us each feel like, “this is my song”, “this is my music”, because a feeling of ownership towards the music we love is the very thing that makes music so special to us.
Critically speaking, Drawde’s rap vocals are actually not half bad. If he wasn’t doing all this weird cross genre nonsense, I suspect he could be successful in hip hop. But even now, as an artist, Drawde isn’t hopeless. He just made the mistake of trying to appeal to both sides of a polar-opposite cultural divide. These types of songs don’t work for the very same reason fusion food restaurants never work. I get uncomfortable when I see Tacos on a Chinese food menu. I don’t know what it means, or why it’s there.
Drawde’s song, “Redneck in Me,” takes a total ‘L’, any way you like at it. But Drawde himself isn’t without skill. He could probably be successful in either hip hop or country music under the right conditions. But he really needs to pick one. As soon as Drawde know which genre he feels most represented by, he should concentrate his musical efforts on that genre and audience.
When he is ready to finally settle for one genre instead of two — if that genre is ours — Drawde should know that hip hop will be happy to have him…Redneck and all.