A group of people could argue for hours as to the quality of the music and its legitimacy in the country music world (here’s a hint: it has no legitimacy to country music). However, given that the mainstream considers it as such, it warrants discussion as to how insulting the term is to country music fans.
According to the Oxford Dictionary, “hick” is defined as “A person who lives in the country, regarded as being unintelligent or provincial,” with its origin being “mid 16th century: nickname for the given name Richard” (Ref. 1). While the origin of the term is that of simply a nickname, the term, as slang, has never had any history.
Compare that to the word “redneck.” While the term “redneck” has come to be somewhat of a badge of honor among many mainstream artists, it has somewhat of a similar meaning to hick. Oxford Dictionary defines redneck as: “A working-class white person, especially a politically reactionary one from a rural area” (Ref. 2). Not only does the definition make no comment on the intelligence of the subject to which it is applied, its origin is also nowhere near as offensive. The origin of “redneck” is “from the back of the neck being sunburned from outdoor work.”
So why is it that fans of “hick-hop” music sit back and listen to this music not realizing that the very music they are enjoying is insulting them? The very music they are enjoying is calling them unintelligent. And it certainly doesn’t help that the music itself plays right into that stereotype.
It doesn’t help country music when artists promote the image that they are unintelligent and uneducated. It doesn’t help country music when these “hick-hop” songs are about the same trucks that Luke Bryan is singing about. All it does is advance the stereotype that many have that country musicians and their fans are dumb and uneducated. We have enough “country” singers doing that already. We don’t need another sub-genre of the music deliberately applying that moniker.
Is this honestly what we as country music fans want representing us? Is this the image country music wants to portray? I sincerely hope not.
Maybe the term “hick-hop” might be fitting to the performers of that music. But when that music is considered “country” and is part of the image that country music is putting across, the term needs to go, and so does the music itself.