Cardi B in front of blue and red background (l) Jason Aldean in front of blue and gold background (r)

lev radin/Shutterstock Kathy Hutchins/Shutterstock (Licensed) Remix by Caterina Cox

Sexually repressed right-wingers would rather you sing about shooting people than ‘WAP’

You don’t need a bucket and a mop for small town values.

 

Catherine Caruso

Tech

Opinion

Country singer Jason Aldean is facing criticism following the release of the music video for his controversial song “Try That In A Small Town,” which was accused of being racist and pro-lynching.  

Conservatives jumped to his defense, and tried to blunt left-wing outrage, by comparing the song to one they believe represents real vulgarity and degeneracy: Cardi B’s hit “WAP.”

Critics of Aldean’s song and accompanying music video say its lyrics and visual imagery evoke a racist and pro-gun message by vilifying racial justice protests and promoting vigilante violence, which Aldean has denied.

The lyrics of “Try That In A Small Town” are straight to the point, with Aldean singing about the retaliation people will face in a small town “full of good ol’ boys, raised up right” for behaving in a certain way.

“Cuss out a cop, spit in his face / Stomp on the flag and light it up / Yeah, ya think you’re tough” Aldean sings. “Well, try that in a small town / See how far ya make it down the road / Around here, we take care of our own.” 

Aldean’s music video was also condemned for the location where it was filmed, which has been identified as the Maury County Courthouse in Columbia, Tennessee, the site of an infamous lynching. 

As a result of this controversy, CMT pulled the music video from the country music network, prompting a sea of outrage from conservatives, with presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy claiming Aldean’s song simply defends American values.

Others noted the message was clear, with people online tweeting about Kyle RIttenhouse, who killed two men during the 2020 George Floyd protests as the ideal Aldean was singing about.

Many right-wingers also jumped to the country star’s defense by comparing the song to Cardi B’s “WAP,” which they claim is more “offensive” due to its sexually explicit lyrics, pointing out that it still aired on the radio and even debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 songs chart. 

“Apparently you can sing about WAP but not the values of a small town,” conservative commentator Tomi Lahren tweeted Wednesday. “Give me a break.”

Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk posted the lyrics of the two songs side by side, tweeting, “Which do you think the media is mad about? WARNING: One of these is GRAPHIC and should NOT be read by minors, and the other is lyrics from Jason Aldean’s song.”

In a tongue-in-check tweet, actor Kevin Sorbo wrote that Aldean’s “newest single ‘Try That In A Small Town’ is offensive so we won’t play that… up next, WAP by Cardi B.”

The comparison is an odd one, given the context of the two songs. “WAP” is a song about sex and female sexuality that contains explicit language and “Try That In A Small Town” is not. 

“WAP,” by Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion, faced much consternation and hand-wringing over its NSFW lyrics and music video after its release in 2020. While fans view the song as empowering, others feel that it is inappropriate, with conservatives overwhelmingly criticizing the song for its brazen promotion of female sexual pleasure. 

“This is what the feminist movement is all about. It’s not really about women being treated as independent, full-rounded human beings,” Daily Wire co-founder Ben Shapiro said at the time. “It’s about wet a– p-word.”

Despite its graphic lyrics, however, “WAP” is not a song about threatening to shoot people for exercising their First Amendment rights, unlike “Try This In A Small Town.”

And yet, many Twitter users echoed these same sentiments about the two wildly different songs. Some parroted them word for word, while others hurled insults at Aldean’s critics and broadly cast aspersions on modern society. 

“If you’re triggered by ‘Try that in a small town’ by @Jason_Aldean, but you have ‘WAP’ by Cardi B on your Playlist. Please seek help,” a self-proclaimed MAGA supporter wrote. “You have a mental disorder.” 

In addition, a field representative for Rep. Barry Moore (R-Ala.) bemoaned CMT’s decision to pull Aldean’s music video and offered up his support for the country singer, tweeting, “How do we pull his song from the radio but keep @iamcardib ‘WAP.’ We have lost our way.”

A few Twitter users have pushed back against this false equivalence, with one saying, “It’s the implied violence in the Jason Aldean song” that makes it controversial and ultimately not comparable to “WAP.”

Although some conservatives argued there are many rap songs that promote violence and still get played on the air, a topic that deserves a more thoughtful and nuanced discussion, the more pervasive argument being circulated on social media was about “WAP.” 

Still, it is telling that a song from a Black female rap artist was the first song to come to mind for these conservatives when countering allegations of violent and racist messaging in Aldean’s country song and music video.

The Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh made a similarly bleak comparison, criticizing another Black woman’s rap song for being both popular and sexual in nature. Wednesday evening, Walsh tweeted a video from his podcast “The Matt Walsh Show,” in which he references Sexxy Redd’s song “Pound Town and disapprovingly reads the lyrics, captioning it, “Why is @Jason_Aldean being held to a standard that is never applied to the most popular rap artists in the world?”

The answer? He’s not being held to the same standard as Cardi B or Sexxy Red. It’s just that a number of sexually repressed conservatives think openly talking about sex is a much worse crime than taking the law into your own hands.

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