• Florida Georgia Line

Ever since rap music appeared on the cultural landscape it’s been positioned as country music’s diametric opposite: black, urban, and morally lax versus white, rural, and socially conservative. It’s a tidy explanation, and a politically expedient one, which is probably why it’s stuck around this long despite the ample evidence to the contrary. Spend any amount of time deep in flyover country and you’ll quickly get used to hearing gangsta rap blaring from pickups driven by the most shitkicker rednecks imaginable, or seeing dozens of retirement-aged white line dancers happily doing their thing to unbelievably raunchy Dirty South stripper rap deep cuts. (I actually saw this once in Oklahoma City and I will cherish that memory until I die.)

Despite the broad conception of country musicians and fans as, to put it bluntly, total racists, country’s been taking cues from urban black music since the beginning of the recording age. Hip-hop’s been an especially difficult influence to synthesize, owing not only to its many stark musical differences but also to the well-publicized image of the two genres as comedically incompatible. Even the most earnest attempts to unite them in the past have dipped into novelty act territory. But that’s starting to change.