Country star Brad Paisley's new album "Wheelhouse" is due out today, and Monday's release of his duet with rapper LL Cool J was almost universally panned.
Paisley begins the song "Accidental Racist" with an anecdote about wearing a confederate flag shirt into a Starbucks, apologizing to the "man who waited on" him because the shirt only meant he is a Lynyrd Skynyrd fan.
"‘Cause I’m a white man livin’ in the southland / Just like you I’m more than what you see / I’m proud of where I’m from but not everything we’ve done."
LL Cool J joins in with a rap about his sagging pants and gold chains being misunderstood, and talks about how the white man in the cowboy hat doesn't understand "what the world is really like when you’re livin’ in the hood."
In a final round of camaraderie, LL Cool J raps "If you don't judge my do-rag, I won't judge your red flag," and Paisley sings that he's a son of the "new south" and wants to make things right.
The song sparked outrage across the internet, and in response a defense of Brad Paisley, who said the song wasn't "a stunt." Questlove of the band The Roots joked that the song must have been a satire by Weird Al Yankovic, but of course, it wasn't.
Just heard the "Accidental Racist" man that Weird Al is amazing.— Questo of The Roots (@questlove) April 8, 2013
RT @andylevy: RIP music. (I just listened to "Accidental Racist.")— Questo of The Roots (@questlove) April 9, 2013
The reason I'm not tweeting about "Accidental Racist" is the same reason Brad Paisley shouldn't have written it.— Damon Lindelof (@DamonLindelof) April 8, 2013
My only thought on Accidental Racist:Defending Confederate flag as “Southern heritage” writes black people out completely as Southerners.— Jamelle Bouie (@jbouie) April 8, 2013
Obviously “Accidental Racist” is HOT garbage but it actually is a good teaching tool for kids about bone-deep, systemic racism.— rob delaney (@robdelaney) April 8, 2013
To take pressure off of Brad Paisley and LL Cool J, I'm releasing my new single "Totally on Purpose Racist."#balancerestored— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) April 8, 2013