What could be more “Baseball” than a song about chasing girls, drinking beer, and chewing tobacco? Blake Shelton didn’t record a hit, but a goddamned grand slam with this one. Mix in an uncomfortable culture-clash, and you’ve scored one of the most fun music videos I’ve seen in a long time.
As illustrated in this video, Shelton had never met an African-American until 2013.
As he sings about nobody in Kentucky knowing how to do the Dougie — sheer brilliance, by the way — three black guys walk in on a honky-tonkin’, clearly-staged-for-a-music-video, party. Myriad thoughts swarm into the viewers head: is this about to get racist? Is this already racist? Am I a racist for wondering these things? Is that banging hook about drinking beer and spitting out tobacco going to start bumping again anytime soon?
After what makes for an extremely uncomfortable stand-off, the fat black dude hugs Blake Shelton, the chorus starts bumping, the party starts up again, and we forget all about racial stereotypes (this is what they want us to do, anyhow).
This video is further proof that country is white peoples’ rap. Between the remix of the greatest song in the world, Nelly and Tim McGraw’s collaboration, and the infamous “Accidental Racist” by Brad Paisley and LL Cool J, it seems that country pop singers are finally embracing the things they have in common with popular hip-hop artists: women, cars, and cruisin’. That doesn’t mean the songs aren’t confrontations between cultures disparate in other ways, or explorations of the limitations of this relationship between country and city folk. Sometimes it’s beautiful, most of the time it is excruciatingly awkward, but it often makes for a sweet fucking song.
This summer, prepare for your favorite hitters to approach the plate while the PA system declares, “Chew Tobacco. Chew Tobacco. Chew Tobacco. Spit.”