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Thread: MAB Q&A
Wes Tibbets

We've discussed in some lengths about "bro country", "rap country" and the death of "bro country". Not only in correspondence between you and me but also it has been mentioned in here as well. Frankly, studying lyrics of the up and coming artists that Nashville pushed in 2015 and moving forward into what they plan to release this year, I wonder why they would be promoting these artists when many of them are primarily "bro country", "rap country" and songwriters who pulled their titles from the Urban Dictionary.

For example, I read a post on Facebook today that was titled, "Views From A Nashville Writing Sesh" in which these are examples of the material that came out of the session....

"The struggle is real
BAE you got me in the feels"

"Sorry I'm not sorry I'm givin' this vibe
IG on Fleek sittin' by the poolside"

"I'm never not ready to drop the tailgate
Thumbin' up something to dance to by Drake"

First off, I know BAE on the net means "Before Anyone Else" but it originates from a Danish term that means "poop". Second you have "IG on Fleek sitting by the poolside". I have no idea what the heck that means. In what way are either of those country? Is it a new style that is evolving from rap and internet slang? It seems like someone just opened the Urban Dictionary online and browsed it until they found a title to write around. Then in the last one, it is clearly reflective of not only "bro country" but "rap country" as well. Like a hybrid of the two.

Which also leads me to the question of the death of bro country. In 2015, we saw the emergence of artists like Cam, Canaan Smith, Michael Ray and Kelsea Ballerini among others. In 2016, the up and coming list of artists includes Lucie Silvas, Jon Langston, Brooke Eden, Two Story Road, Courtney Cole, Cane Brown, Post Monroe, Maren Morris, Tucker Beathard, Ashley Campbell (Glen's daughter), and LANco among others.

Now with the ladies, the lyrics are a lot of these Miranda Lambert "Girl Power" songs with slang interweaved in the titles and lyrics like "Dibs" for example. With the guys, when you go through their lyrics, it's a lot of country rock, bro country, country rap, urban dictionary slang interwoven from one lyric to another depending on the subject. But clearly with not only the up and coming male artists from last year but also the ones that are coming out in 2016, bro country is alive and well in songs like "American Muscle" by Canaan Smith, and others I can't recall off the top of my head. My question is, if it's a dead horse, why is Nashville promoting artists that specialize in that sound and style of songwriting? Do you see where I'm coming from? On one hand, you have this thought, fact, or rumor, whatever that labels are no longer taking bro country songs and that it'll be a dead form of music within I think it was six months. But on the other hand, the artists that they are investing in have obviously not only come from those roots but also are performing and writing that type of song. Why would they do that? It doesn't make sense from a business perspective if they've taken so much time to groom and promote these artists music only to drop their style flat out before they even really get started. And that even goes to more established artists as well. Like Florida-Georgia Line and others. If these songs are still burning up the Top 40 and making the industry money, I just don't see the logic to kick a gift horse in the mouth. Not that I'm doubting your word or anything. Please don't think I am. I've just been studying a lot of the songs that are out and the styles of the artists that are coming out. And man, I don't see it. I see a lot of styles in there along the lines I've mentioned. The one I don't understand and don't really care for is the social media slang like "BAE' or "IG on Fleek". And from what I can tell, Cane Brown is big on that rap roots country from at least a slang aspect.

I really thought about all of that a lot trying to make sense of it. One possibility that came to mind is something else you said about, and forgive me if I misquote you, that Nashville moves in "3's". By that, it occurred to me that the decision they are making now to quit accepting "bro country" songs reflects not what they did last year, next year or even the year after. But along the lines of 3 or 4 years from now. Because obviously, they are bound to have plenty of these types of songs stockpiled and ride out the last vestige of popularity regarding bro country based just upon what they already have. Is this a pretty good assumption?

Anyway, just curious. I know you've touched on the subject in previous posts. But when I read articles about up and coming artists that are coming out in the here and now with an eye towards a year long trend in music, it just doesn't seem to have any indications that it's anywhere close to being a thing of the past from the bro country aspect and from the aspect of the other styles, it looks like they are opening doors for Kanye West to have a future in Nashville. I can't help but think about what you said about you never leaving rock, rock left you. Kinda seems like country never left Nashville, Nashville is leaving country.Maybe not from a sound standpoint altogether but certainly from a lyrical standpoint. Of course, I'm not running anybody down. That's just my observation based on everything I'm reading and studying.

To be honest, from my perspective when it comes to writing styles. A lot of what they are doing is similar in many ways to my natural tendencies as I write. Not to say that I write songs as good as theirs. It's just that the writing style, use of slang, etc. are the stronger aspects of my writing style as well. I've pulled slang from the Urban Dictionary before. I'd be a liar if I said I haven't. But what I haven't done to my knowledge is go down the road of writing with social media terms like lol, bae, smh, ttyl, fyi. etc. etc. Sorry to write a book. I hope I haven't offended anyone. It wasn't my intention. I, just wanted to pick your brain a little more about this stuff. While I've been reading these articles and lyrics of and about up and coming artists, I couldn't get what you mentioned out of my thought process. And I admit, I became rather confused by it all. Thanks!