May 21, 2014
Awnaw, hell naw, mane, y’all done up and done it/…them country boys on the rise – Nappy Roots, “Awnaw”
Stop being rapper racists/region haters/…This is southern face it/if we too simple/then y’all don’t get the basics – Lil’ Wayne, “Shooter”
Hope the hook wasn’t too simple/either way, nigga, I wrote it/yes, I made the beat/yes, I made the track…I don’t fall in line/I define what’s rhyme – Big K.R.I.T., “Mt. Olympus”*
“I swear a country nigga snap…” – Big K.R.I.T., “Mt. Olympus”
While “country” is oft-times a pejorative term meant to denote someone’s greenness, lack of sophistication, or backwardness, black southerners have long used country to describe an existence rooted in dirt and power, and the ability to survive and maneuver through a world that would rather them not. Still, in its use as an insult, “country” reflects black Americans’ discomfort with southern blackness and its linkages to historical anxieties about the trauma of slavery, black male emasculation, the dehumanizing violence of Jim Crow, and the continued anti-modernity of the (rural) South. Whether the players are Richard Wright and Zora Neale Hurston, Spike Lee and Tyler Perry, or Ice-T and Soulja Boy, as I argue in This Ain’t Chicago, in the aggregate drama of black representation, black folks would rather excise all country niggas–who are seen as reminders of a past of subjugation–from the narrative of the race.