The controversy around the Brad Paisley-LL Cool J collaboration on Paisley new album has helped drive online streams of the track as it generates a massive amount of attention from writers and critics.
The much-derided "Accidental Racist," from the album "Wheelhouse" released Tuesday, has received 10% of the album's plays at Rhapsody. That's a high share of plays for a song deep into the album and makes it the most popular track on the album, according to Rhapsody. In contrast, the single "Beat This Summer" has received just 7% of the 21-track deluxe version of the album's total streams. If all 21 tracks received an equal amount of streams each would have about a 4.8% share.
In the song, Paisley sings of wearing a T-shirt with the South's Union Jack flag because he's a fan of Lynyrd Skynyrd. "Our generation didn't start this nation, and we're still picking up the pieces, walking on eggshells, fighting over yesterday," he sings. LL encourages "Mr. White Man" not to judge him based on his clothes and jewelry. "If you don't judge me by my gold chains, I'll forge the iron chains," he raps.
The song has received an incredible amount of criticism this week. The Atlantic wrote that the song is an example of "how not to sing about the Confederate flag" that ended up being "accidentally racist." The New York Times called it "the worst kind of agitprop" that is "hard to swallow." Many people took to Twitter to voice their opinions, making #AccidentalRacist a trending topic on Monday.
One place "Accidental Racist" won't get attention is YouTube. The video had been pulled by Tuesday, according to the Atlantic.
Paisley and LL appeared on "Good Morning America" Wednesday to explain that the song was intended to get people talking about racism. LL clarified the line about forgetting the iron chains. "I'm not advising anybody to truly forget slavery," he said. "But what I am saying is forget the slavery mentality, forget the bitterness."
On "Ellen" Paisley said he didn't trust Hollywood, talk radio or the media to lead the conversation about racism in America. "I think it's music's turn to have the conversation."