Colt Ford @ The Compound Grill

When rap was coming into the national consciousness in the '80s, there was a pretty lame joke going around that went something like "Did you hear about the guy who crossed country with rap? They call it crap." It may have taken almost 30 years, but a former professional golfer named Jason Brown, enveloping himself in the appropriately shit-kickin' persona of "Colt Ford," has actually managed to score a few hit albums on the country charts in recent years with his country-rap hybrid, and while not exactly the "crap" of the joke's punch line, it is, if anything, an amusing guilty pleasure. Spoken-word pieces are nothing new in country (Johnny Cash's "A Boy Named Sue" and Jimmy Dean's "Big Bad John" come to mind), so the leap from country to rap is not as big as it would seem, and Ford's hip-hop flow and deft rhymes blend seamlessly into the drums, guitars, fiddles, and pedal steel of his backing tracks. Ford's biggest claim to fame thus far has come as the writer of Jason Aldean's number-one country hit "Dirt Road Anthem," which Aldean made more country and less hip-hop than Ford and singer Brantley Gilbert's own version, but a few of Ford's own recordings of his tunes have sniffed the lower reaches of the country singles charts, proving that a portly rapper can make a dent in the good ol' boy Nashville network.

 
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