Listen, if you grew up like I did, the son of a man who grew up in the deep south and recounted the most horrific episodes of racism imaginable that would make "Mississippi Burning" resemble a county fair, reviewing a group with the word "Dixie" in it should be the last thing on my agenda. Not only that but I'm what I consider a 89er, no that's not a sexual position, it is a term I coined for anyone who prefers the hip Hop in and around the year 1989, so suffice it to say I'm not the biggest country music fan in the world. It's not that I dislike country music, I find most of the "white man's blues" variety quite good, but based on the arrival of an untalented fuck named "Cowboy Troy", me being forced to listen to a bowel movement in country music form named "Big and Rich" during an NBA All-Star game a couple of years back, and the ignorantly jingoistic stylings of Mr. "I'll put a boot in your ass, who cares about the Iraqi women and children" Toby Keith, like an old woman who sees me and thinks that all black men are criminals, I've made it my business to be on the opposite side of the road when Country music comes my way.
But that being said, I knew that I would give these three ladies from Texas a fair review because I am, truly, a lifelong Hip Hop fan. Let me explain: Based on the countless lazy criticisms of Hip Hop over the years, the passive aggressive racism that is disguised as objectivity by detractors of Hip Hop, and the "downfall of black culture" that uncle tom black conservatives like to lay at the feet of the genre that I love, Hip Hop has taught me to judge genres of music fairly with a open mind. That being said, I took the CD I borrowed from my neighbor, popped it in my computer, and decided to free my mind without horticulture aids or any other mind altering hallucinogenics.
When I looked over the CD cover for a few moments I not only noticed that Linda Perry and Cheryl Crow wrote a few songs on the CD, Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers did some drumming, but the man that I consider to be the "White Yoda", the man that co-founded Def Jam and and stopped my nonsensical hating on Jay-Z, Rick Rubin himself was producing this album. My interest was now at an all time high, a dude who has waived his magic wand and produced the likes of Johnny Cash, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Neil Diamond, the Beastie Boys, System of a Down, and LL Cool J, was behind this record so I was definitely interested in what I was about to hear.
To be honest, after giving the album a few good listens, I was pleasantly surprised on how good it was considering that Country music is the furthest thing from my musical sensibilities. Besides a well produced album that flows effortlessly, I was also delighted with the way they address several topics on their newest release. The song "Bitter End" is sort of an ode to lost friends, the song "Silent House" is a free flowing track about the effects of alzheimer's on a loved one, "Lullaby" is a touching tune addressing the love they have for their children, "Voice Inside my head" is a haunting, insightful melody about guilt and regret concerning a abortion, but two tracks really stick out in my mind. One of those tracks is "Lubbock or Leave it" which is a country dish served with a side order of blues, truly the song that turned me from the "objective Hip Hop guy" to a person that couldn't stop nodding my head. The other song, truly a middle finger to country radio, and those inbred motherfuckers who stopped being fans of theirs because they never had a father figure and still support this incompetent president, is called "Not ready to make Nice yet", with telling lyrics referencing some of the shit they had to go through after "the comment:" And how in the world/ Can the words that I said/ Send somebody so over the edge/ That they'd write me a letter/ Saying that I better shut up and sing/ Or my life will be over".
When people hate on Kanye West ad nauseum, I understand because the guy is a fucking tool, but I don't partake in spewing my venom his direction simply because there are bigger fish to fry concerning artists who are ruining Hip Hop. As much as I hate Bush, feel that he is a functioning illiterate, and feel that any one who still supports him has serious mental issues that need to be addressed immediately, I can't give Kanye props for his live rant against the president damn near a year ago. Not because I feel that it wasn't "the right place or time", that's bullshit, but it wasn't particularly brave and he stated something that every black person who doesn't put on black-face and calls themselves a conservative already knows. The Dixie Chicks on the other hand, even though they were abroad, criticised the president even though their fan base at the time probably masturbated to FOX news, had a "I'll put a boot in your ass" doormat, and probably still listened to the presidents speeches via radio, huddled around it like it was 1955 or some shit. What they did took balls, and with this album they did the right thing by not pandering to country radio and coming with a album that is more rock and blues influenced, and they are lyrically unapologetic when it comes to the statements that they made about a man who will probably be remembered as the worst president ever. When asked about not being played on Country radio, Natalie Maines said "I don't even know what's played on country radio, but when they tell me some titles, it cracks me up." She continued, "Besides, where would we fit on the play-list between `Honky Tonk Badonkadonk' and `Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off,' as the rest of the Chicks -- sisters Martie Maguire and Emily Robison -- join in her laughter. Maybe being shunned from the country music is a good thing content wise, as I feel that this is a good album, and that's saying a lot coming from someone who prays to the alter of Hip Hop and the only Country music experience that I had was getting a lap-dance to the Billy Ray Cyrus song "Akey Breaky Heart" once. Oh yeah, Fuck George W. Bush.