It’s official: Rap has crossed over to Country. What was a novelty just a few years ago is now a subgenre, whose ties to hip-hop are as fascinating as they are controversial.
Charlie Farley gets both forms of music. Stylistically, this native of De Queen, Ark., vocalizes with complete authenticity, from the rhythm of his rhymes to the hints of melody that emphasize key words and cadences. Influenced as much by Tupac as Hank Williams, he began writing poetry at 12. In May 2012, Farley cut his debut album in Atlanta, helmed by Phivestarr Productions. It took him all of two days to finish 13 tracks, which were released in January by Average Joes Entertainment/BackRoad Records as Hog Heaven.
Though his delivery doesn’t reference Country tradition, the feel isn’t that different. Check out the first single, “Backwoods Boys” (written by Farley, Daniel Lee, Jared Sciullo and Justin Spillner): A lazy fiddle underscores its celebration of Southern idylls. This focus predominates throughout Hog Heaven. In place of gangsta references, Farley pays homage to bedrock virtues, from skinny-dipping (“Average Joes,” by Farley, Noah Gordon, Sciullo and Spillner) to rugged individualism: His people “still believe in America,” he insists on the title cut (Farley, Sciullo and Spillner). “Hard times will never break us.”
You might be on the fence about whether this hybrid sound will endure. But there’s no doubt that Farley’s commitment to Country values will.
For more on Charlie Farley, visit www.CMACloseUp.com.
IN HIS OWN WORDS
DREAM DUET PARTNER
“Would have to be Garth or Collin Raye. Collin was actually born in the same town that I grew up in.”
SONG YOU WISHED YOU’D WRITTEN
“‘Dirt Road Anthem.’ I knew that type of song would be a hit. Everyone I grew up with in Southwest Arkansas listened to rap, and they listened to Country. So it was only a matter of time before the two elements combined. I wish I would have written it but Colt (Ford) and Brantley (Gilbert) did an amazing job. Then Jason (Aldean) did as well.
SONGS YOU SING IN THE SHOWER
“Most of the time I’m singing new tunes. New ideas normally start coming to me while I’m freshening up.”
PHRASE YOU SAY OVER AND OVER
“‘Ain’t it though?’ My brother got me saying that years ago and I guess I will say it forever.”
“People loudly crunching ice or chips or talking with a mouth full of food drives me absolutely crazy.”
MOMENT YOU WOULD LIKE TO RELIVE
“I would have to relive two. That would be the days my two kids were born. I was young and dumb back then, and if I could erase the alcohol and replace it with more memories of them I would be happy.”
SOMETHING WE’D NEVER GUESS ABOUT YOU
“I’m really down-to-earth and laid-back. I think most people listen to my music and expect me to be this cocky or arrogant guy. I’m the complete opposite of that. I remember my mom telling me when I was young, ‘Son, you ain’t better than nobody else but ain’t nobody else better than you.’ I took that to heart then and still do now. So I treat everyone the way I would want to be treated whether they are 80 and broke or 13 and rich.”
On the Web: www.CharlieFarleyMusic.com
On Twitter: @CFarleyMusic
By Bob Doerschuk
© 2014 CMA Close Up® News Service / Country Music Association®, Inc.