Last week, I was texting a friend and they recommended a rap song that I had never heard before. I do like rap music however, I’m usually not the type to branch out with new music–but since I am a good friend, I listened anyway. After giving it a shot, I then proceeded to send my friend a song that I listen to frequently. They absolutely refused to listen. Why? It was a country song.

Country music is often generalized as something that “rednecks” and cowboys listen to, but there’s a lot more to it than just a “yee-haw.” Just like any other music genre, country music tells stories, but people are often too quick to judge just because of the stigma that it’s old-fashioned.

Most of my friends aren’t country music fans, and I even used to hate country music too. When I was younger, my dad used to play Johnny Cash and other country artists on long road trips for hours on end. Back then, I would have rather listened to Justin Bieber or One Direction. However, in middle school, I found myself listening to a wider variety of music genres; I thought that rap and pop were entertaining, and country eventually stuck around as a guilty pleasure.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying all you should listen to is country music. I get it–”yee-haw music” is stereotyped as patriotic, a characteristic that is distasteful to my peers. However, country songs aren’t limited to one theme. People miss out on connecting to the emotions that artists convey by not giving tracks a chance.

Even though Country and Rap music stand alone, they share similar roots and even the same content. Both styles of music focus on both positive and negative subjects and share a lot more similarities than one may think. However, rap music has a more aggressive flow.

On a personal level, country music is something my family has bonded over since it relates to our values and the activities we like to do, like fishing, hunting, mud bogging and going to the rodeo. Country music has shaped my life, and I would act completely different without it. It’s not like I’m forcing my preference on you by blasting country music in the hallway; I just think you should respect my opinion and think about giving it a listen.

After all, country is just a music genre. Within a genre, there can be many different artists and styles of songs. Instead of belittling those who listen to country music, give it a chance, and maybe you’ll find some songs that fit your preference. After all, there are a lot of popular songs out there that you might not even realize are country. For once, at least give it a listen.

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