One thing that I have learned by writing my column is that even though I prefer traditional country music, hip-hop, and rap are tremendously popular with the younger set. There have been a few country artists who have dipped their toes into the hip-hop music scene, but the most successful one I have encountered is David Morris.
Hailing from Charleston, West Virginia, country, hip-hop artist David Morris is trailblazing a path by mixing trap-style beats with slide guitars, banjos with catchy hooks, and lyrical mastery with relatable lyrics. Morris has over 120 million global streams and has supported Kidd G and Jelly Roll on tour. The song, “Dutton Ranch Free Style” recently received its RIAA Gold Certification.
Words are the key component of any country song. That is what makes Morris’s music so appealing to a wide variety of fans, “From kids to grannies,” he informed.
Unlike other rappers whose lyrics may be offensive, his songs often reflect his small-town roots. He has been on an upward trajectory, delivering standout singles like the uplifting "Smalltown Queen," the empathetic "Who Hurt You," and the honest “You Deserve Better.”
Earlier this fall, Morris married his girlfriend of ten years, Miranda Harrison, as he officially put a “stamp” on their relationship. The songs he writes/sings prove he knows who he is, what he is about, and most importantly to me, how to treat women.
He explained, “I want to make songs that she and I would listen to, songs that I can be proud of and that can touch and affect people positively. Because I do think a lot of today's modern music might have different priorities in the songwriting.”
He tries to focus on what is really important in life.
Growing up, his dad listened to folk/rock greats like Bob Dylan and Simon Garfunkel. His mom liked classic country singers like George Strait and Garth Brooks, but it was his brother who introduced him to hip-hop at an early age.
What Morris has done is take his Appalachian values and apply them to today’s music. A perfect example of that fusion is the mash-up single “Carrying Your Love,” which gives a hat-tip to George Strait. The song went to the top of the charts in 2020 peaking No. 3 on Trending Sounds within TikTok.
He advised, “A few years ago I realized I needed to embrace my roots and start to write about my life and my journey and my hometown. And maybe that is what’s going to be relatable to people. And bingo, it was. It was me just being myself, just taking it back to the core of who I am and where I'm from.”
Last week, Morris put out a new album with 15 tunes, called Bored in the USA. Besides his smash hits, “Dutton Ranch Free Style’ and “Carrying Your Love,” it has newer tracks like his favorite, “Prettiest Thing,” inspired by his wife, Miranda.
And while the track has elements of rap, he manages to incorporate the mountain fiddles and Appalachian acoustic guitars. With lyrics like Just a couple small town runaways/ Dreamin' of another place, how 'bout a dance, baby?/ You can do-si-do on over here and take my hand baby/ I just gotta tell you that I love you every chance babe/ Buy a couple acres, raise some kids, that's the plan babe/ Thank God I'm your man, baby you know this not your average hip-hop song.
But it’s not all rap and hip-hop. “Hot Beer in Hell” is country music storytelling at its finest. With lyrics like “There’s a hot beer in hell waiting for people like me, you can see the movie playing in your head.
Morris exclaimed, “It’s a favorite because I wrote it and produced it exclusively by myself. And it's just kind of a foreshadowing of kind of what's to come with my sound. Yes, I rap, and yes, I make songs that are maybe more modern sounding. But I also have the side of my songwriting, which is you know more on a traditional country side or a folk side.”
The song “My Fault” is beautifully unexpected and could be easily played on mainstream country radio.
When speaking of his Bored in the USA record, he related, “These songs paint such a vivid picture of where I'm from and my friends' lives and people around me. It’s hard to pick a favorite, but I would say that this album is made up of basically a bunch of my personal favorite songs.”
If you or your kids like hip-hop records, but you worry about the lyrics, you need to put David Morris on your radar. He is one of the most popular artists I have ever featured. And his music is enjoyed by all generations. Check out his entire body of work.
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