Chris Molanphy is a columnist for
FLY 'til I Can't No More: The Collision and Cross-Pollination of Rap and Country
Chapter 3 explores the collision and cross-pollination of rap and country music before “Old Town Road.” As far back as the 1980s, rap songs were invoking country imagery even when the underlying tracks were not built around country musicality. By the turn of the millennium, the shifting of rap's cultural center from the East and West Coasts to Atlanta and the South, and the attempts to infuse rap songs with country instrumentation, drew the musics closer. By the 2010s, country acts were employing hip-hop beats and tropes, and rappers were invoking country themes in their music, most especially rapper Young Thug's creation of the “country trap” subgenre.