NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — After “Old Town Road” kicked off a trend of country-trap this year, Blanco Brown felt the timing was just right for his dance hit “The Git Up.”
Brown, who grew up in Atlanta, has been living in both musical worlds his entire life. His mom played him OutKast and Jodeci, but he’d spend summers with his aunt in rural Butler, Georgia, where he’d hear mostly Johnny Cash and Tim McGraw.
“Later on when I was about 23, 24, I started recording country records,” 34-year-old Brown said. “And my friends would tell me, ‘Man, you’re black. You know you can’t do no country records.'”
Brown kept working on his combination of hip-hop and country, which he likes to call “trailer trap,” while also songwriting and working as a vocal producer for Grammy-winning acts like Fergie and Monica.
His music caught the attention of BBR Music Group, a Nashville-based record label with artists like Jason Aldean and Zac Brown Band, which put out his self-titled EP in May. His songs combine trap music styles such as 808 drum machines, aggressive synths and tempo with melodic strings, lap steel and guitar and lyrics about Southern culture.
He was experimenting with a different tuning on the lap steel when he came up with the twang that he looped throughout “The Git Up,” which has shot to No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot country songs chart in just five weeks. He named the song after a saying he heard from his childhood.
“I remember growing up in the hood and my grandmother saying, ‘Ya’ll better git up and do ya’ll work,” Brown said.
The song, which is No. 16 on the all-genre Hot 100 chart, became viral similar to “Old Town Road” on the social media app TikTok, where people have recreated Brown’s dance moves or added their own dances and tagged it to #TheGitUpChallenge.
“It felt so fine and I was like, ‘People got to dance to this,'” Brown said.
Brown said “Old Town Road,” which is spending its 14th consecutive week on top of the Hot 100 chart, opened a lot of people’s ears to the music he’s been passionate about.
“People heard that record and they were just looking for something close to it,” Brown said. “The whole time I had been building my sound and I was like, ‘It’s in the same vein.’ So that just gave me like a sense of ‘OK, there is an appetite for this.'”
But unlike Lil Nas X, Brown’s song has not been removed from Billboard’s country charts. He said he wasn’t concerned about anyone saying it wasn’t country enough.
“People are gonna try to criticize it, but if you take away the 808s, then you got traditional country,” Brown said.
While “The Git Up” is popular online, Brown’s label is just now making an official push to get the song played on country radio. Brown said that music fans are a lot more open to new sounds and mixing of genres than ever before.
“You hear it at the club. You hear it at the after parties,” Brown said. “Why not be the artist that does it wholeheartedly?”
Follow Kristin M. Hall at http://twitter.com/kmhall