Earlier this month Phonte dropped much knowledge about which rappers correspond to which classic television shows. To wit: Jay is The Wire; Nas is Breaking Bad; Kanye is Lost; East Bound and Down is Action Bronson, etc. etc. It’s a fun game, and anyone who thinks too much about hip-hop has definitely tried their hand at playing in some form or other. Here, we compare rappers to female country stars. Because why not? GO!
Biggie Smalls is Dolly Parton
There’s no question that Biggie Smalls is Dolly Parton.The impact they’ve had on their respective genres is as huge as Dolly’s bust or Biggie’s waistline, and. both performers emphasize honest, autobiographical aspects that challenged their roles in society. Odds are, if Biggie was still alive, he’d have his own amusement park and a hefty stack of awards, just like Dolly.
Tupac is Tammy Wynette
Tupac and Tammy share an independent streak that separated them from the rest of the pack. Tammy Wynette sang about divorce and loneliness instead of happy endings, redefining the boundaries of what women could discuss in their art. As one of the earliest and most popular West Coast rappers, Tupac also redefined music. He was at the fore of a whole new breed of hip-hop and his emphasis on social issues mirrors Wynette’s relational commentary.
LL Cool J is Reba McEntire
Both OGs who owned the game in their hey day, Reba and LL have fallen off a bit since their respective golden eras. But when you see LL Cool J on NCIS: Los Angeles and Reba on her self-title sitcom, you can’t help but respect the hustle. Sure, primetime may be a bit removed from Reba’s story of bootstrap social-climbing on “Fancy” or LL’s “Mama Said Knock You Out,” but both parties turned their personalities into acting careers. Ain’t nothing wrong with it.
Jay Z is Faith Hill
Where would Jay and Faith be without Tim McGraw and Beyonce Knowles, respectively? These two massive celebrities are just as well known for their music as they are for being part of two of the music industries most powerful couples. But aside from their couple star status, from the fuck-it-all attitude of “99 Problems” and the world-stopping power of “This Kiss,” both Jay and Faith crossed over into the mainstream and never looked back.
Nas is Martina McBride
Unlike Jay Z or Faith Hill, both Nas and Martina McBride never really made the big leap into Pop Stardom. While they’re each celebrated as pioneers and impeccable performers in the smaller realms of hip-hop and country, neither have gained the celebrity traction their talent warrants. That doesn’t change the power of Illmatic or McBride’s latest charting single “This One’s For The Girls,” which celebrates daughters to the extent that it almost invites a Nas remix. Hey, we can dream right?
Outkast are the Dixie Chicks
Both of these Southern based groups had a huge influence on the formative sound of their respective genres in the past decade or so. The Southern sounds Andre 3000 and Big Boi helped popularize in mainstream hip-hop–and even pop music now–find their counterpoint in the bluegrass that the Chicks brought to country pop. Not only that, but the widely anticipated solo albums of former Dixie Chick Natalie Maines and Outkast’s Big Boi occupy remarkably similar lanes of “ho-hum.” Sometimes synergy is everything.
Loretta Lynn is Lil Wayne
What unites Lil Wayne and Loretta Lynn the most? Probably that they’re both best known for just being really fucking weird. Whether Wayne is trail-blazing autotune in a blaze of “Lollipop” fire or celebrating cunnilingus in the world’s most complete set of similes, he finds a worthy match in Loretta Lynn. After all, she penned a song glorifying “The Pill” (read: birth control) back in 1975–in America’s most conservative genre. Then there’s her 2004 collaboration with Jack White, which was almost as unconventional as that song Lil Wayne did with Weezer. Weirdos doing it right, at 31 and 81 respectively.
Kanye West is Shania Twain
Kanye West with his “pink ass polo” and “fucking backpack” did, indeed, bring so-called real rap back, and his break with tradition isn’t too far from the moves that Shania Twain was making about a decade earlier. She broke boundaries for female country superstars by infusing a strong sense of feminine agency into undeniable chart-topping hits. “Jesus Walks” is just as unlikely a hit as “Man, I Feel Like a Woman”–but they both electrified the musical culture of the time. Also, remember when Shania caught her husband/producer cheating and went semi-insane for a while and lost her voice? No disrespect to Mr. West, but we can only imagine his freak out would be similar if Kim ever strays.
Kendrick Lamar is Kacey Musgraves
While Kendrick is infamous for his abstaining from alcohol (“Swimming Pools” isn’t an appropriate soundtrack for your frat party, bro), Kacey turned some heads earlier this year with her drug-condoning behavior on “Follow Your Arrow” that explicitly refers to rolling a joint–shocking for the generally conservative country community. These two artists are both semi new to their genres and have both set out establishing strong identities with big players from the industry backing their work. But the fully-formed albums they both recently dropped point to big things for them both. Dare we call them classics in the making?
Drake is Taylor Swift
When it comes to passive aggressively shaming your exes for their appalling behavior, no one has T-Swift and Drizzy beat. What would happen if the two ever had a romantic encounter. Obviously they’d break up since they’re both clearly self-involved, but the wave of subtweets, subliminal messages in songs and break-up shade that would ensue would be epic. When it comes to melting genres, melting hearts and holding grudges, these two peas are definitely snuggled up in the same pod.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 10, 2013