Rap music and country music -- two distinctly different genres that don't go together, right? Maybe in the past, cuz, but it seems like the hybridizing of the two are happening more and more in recent years. Brad Paisley and LL Cool J collaborated on last year's track "Accidental Racist," Willie Nelson jammed out with Snoop Dogg on 2011's "Superman," or Florida Georgia Line working with Nelly on "Cruise."
And then there are country rappers like Colt Ford, who makes his home in the realm of hick-hop.
Although he's a rapper at heart, the former golf pro is also a die-hard country boy who has co-written such hybrid hits as last year Jason Aldean/Ludacris collaboration "Dirt Road Anthem" (pretty much a melodic rap) and Brantley Gilbert's rip-roaring rock-fueled anthem, "Country Must Be Country Wide."
Ford has not only helped life others to success, he's also had a taste of it himself, as his 2012 album, Declaration of Independence debuted at number one on the Billboard charts. "Drivin' Around Song," his track with Aldean from last year, was also all over the radio and Ford's latest single, "The High Life," dropped last month and has also charted fairly well.
The 43-year-old Georgia resident is quite gifted at mergomg the influences of both country and rap, as well as a bit of rock 'n' roll, on many of the albums in his discography. Our sister publication Village Voice described Ford's talents on his 2010 album Chicken & Biscuits, thusly:
He drawls like Bubba Sparxxx against chitlin-circuit swamp guitars, an electro boombox, and chirping insects in "Cricket on a Line," a fishing song that's more just a repetitive chant. "Saddle Up" sounds like Juvenile-style New Orleans bounce at a barn dance; live, he stretches it past 13 jam-festival minutes.
He shares Waffle House patty melts with his long-crunking fellow 300-pound Georgian, Bone Crusher, above a butt-rocking Steve Miller riff on "Gangsta of Love," and swings into even bigger-bottomed '70s biker-barbecue boogie for his new "Mud Flap" and "Ride on, Ride out," the latter featuring old-school principal DMC.
Besides collaborating with hip-hop artists, Ford has enlisted the aid of many kings of country, such as Aldean, Jake Owen, and Eric Church. He writes most of his own songs, however, and told Up On the Sun during a recent interview that he lets the music tell him who would make sense to collaborate on a particular song.
Ford also says that it has all led him to the right place in his career. And on Sunday, April 13, his music will lead him outside of Florence to the stage at Country Thunder 2014. Fans can expect a high-energy performance from Ford, who believes in giving it all he's got every show.
"I play as hard as I can," he says. "I have a lot of fun out there. It's just who I am as an artist. I don't believe in holding back, I believe you give everything you can to the fans."
Ford certainly loves his fans, and he plans to thank them on his new album, Thanks For Listening, which will be released this summer. He plans to give kudos to his supporters by including their names in the album credits.
Ford admits that he'd be nothing without his fans and wanted to make sure he thanked them in a big way.
Ford has continuously kept in touch with his fans and interacts with them at shows and online, but feels like including their names is something much bigger.
In the past, Ford says he's written thank you notes to the fans, but now he's looking to get them more involved with his music and what he's working on. And what cooler way than to see their names on his album?
"[The fans] are the ones that make us who we are," Ford says. "We could write a cool song all day, but if they don't like it then it doesn't mean anything."
Colt Ford is scheduled to perform on Sunday, April 13, at Country Thunder.
Find any show in Metro Phoenix via our extensive online concert calendar.