The idea of genres in music is becoming increasingly archaic, or at least the idea of keeping the stars from different genres separate is becoming absurd. As the latest example of this soon to be principle is Taylor Swift proves.
Those with Taylor Swift tickets hardly expect the country singer and four-time Nashville Songwriter “Artist of the Year” honor winner to be rubbing shoulders with the likes of Nicki Minaj and B.o.B. Well, she did when she asked them to come on stage and add to the performance while on the Speak Now tour. More recently, she hit up Atlanta on tour and requested the assistance of recently released rapper T.I. He graciously accepted and added his vocal talents to the performance of “Live Your Life”. Guess what? The audience absolutely lost when those hip hop stars appeared on stage.
Swift told MTV that she has enjoyed hip hop since she was a young child and has been blasting the genre in her car for years. This might disappoint those who hoped to keep country music a little more twang than hippity hoppity, but the country genre has been expanding for quite some time and this day has been inevitable.
To begin with, country music has embraced rock since the 1970s. Remember the Eagles? They introduced a soft rock/country hybrid that went platinum several times over. Country has already had its grunge period too. Groups like The National have been categorized as Alternative Western. So, the days of “Is it country or western?” are over. Country is a little bit everything now. A little bit rock and roll, a little but hip hop, and a little bit pop.
In reality, as soon as Kid Rock broke the barrier, this day became a certainty. Now Jason Aldean is doing a little bit of rapping on “Dirt Road Anthem” and the Taste of Country has recognized the five best country-rap collaborations. Nelly has even made an appearance at the CMT Awards.
The idea of music being carefully constrained by genre has dissipated. Perhaps this is the result of the modern audience having more accessibility to music thanks to the Internet or perhaps the demise of the major label has allowed these artists the freedom necessary to explore the musical stratosphere and make hits connection. Perhaps it is a little bit of both. No matter what the cause, the 21st century has undeniably left its mark on country music and there is no going back, so look forward to a Taylor Swift-Bruno Mars sometime soon.