A new song called Accidental Racist that's a collaboration between country star Brad Paisley and rapper LL Cool J was released Monday (April 8th) and it quickly raised virtual eyebrows across the Internet, with some using words like "bizarre" and "horrible," even though most acknowledged it was well-intentioned. The song, from Paisley's new album, Wheelhouse, is about his struggle to deal with issues of race as a white man in the South, singing, about, quote, "walking on eggshells" and saying, "I'm just a white man comin' to you from the southland/Tryin' to understand what it's like not to be/I'm proud of where I'm from but not everything we've done/And it ain't like you and me can re-write history/Our generation didn't start this nation." LL Cool J eventually joins in with the view from his perspective, and arguably even stranger lyrics, beginning with, "Dear Mr. White Man, I wish you understood/What the world is really like when you're livin' in the hood," and including, "If you don't judge my do-rag . . . I won't judge your red flag," and, "If you don't judge my gold chains . . . I'll forget the iron chains."
Paisley explained the motivation behind the song to Entertainment Weekly, saying, "This isn't a stunt. This isn't something that I just came up with just to be sort of shocking or anything like that. I knew it would be, but I'm sort of doing it in spite of that, really. I'm doing it because it just feels more relevant than it even did a few years ago. I think that we're going through an adolescence in America when it comes to race. You know, it's like we're almost grown up. You have these little moments as a country where it's like, 'Wow things are getting better.' And then you have one where it's like, 'Wow, no they're not.' . . . I just think art has a responsibility to lead the way, and I don't know the answers, but I feel like asking the question is the first step, and we're asking the question in a big way. . . . We don't solve anything, but it's two guys that believe in who they are and where they're from very honestly having a conversation and trying to reconcile."