It only took a few hours for a six-minute song about race to spark a backlash after its release Monday.
The song by the unlikely duo of Brad Paisley and LL Cool J,Ā āAccidental Racist,ā was slammed by music critics and fans alike for its attempt at a dialogue on race between two men from starkly different backgrounds with lyrics like āIf you donāt judge my do-rag ā¦ I wonāt judge your red flagā and āIf you donāt judge my gold chains ā¦ Iāll forget the iron chains.ā
The country singer, 40, and his rapper counterpart, 45, say the national debate sparked by their song, released on Paisleyās new album, āWheelhouse,ā is exactly what they wanted to happen.
āIām not really sure weāre going to find any answers but it was the idea that we were asking the question,ā Paisley said in an exclusive interview with his duet partner that aired today on āGood Morning America.ā
āMartin Luther King says that darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can,ā LL Cool J said.Ā āHate canāt drive out hate, only love can. So what weāre talking about is compassion.ā
āAccidental Racistā focuses specifically on how northerners Ā like LL Cool J, who grew up in New York City, view Southerners, like Paisley, a native of West Virginia, and vice versa.
āIām not advising anyone to truly forget slavery, but what Iām saying is forget the slavery mentality,ā LL Cool J said.Ā āForget the bitterness.Ā Donāt get bitter, get better.ā
Critics have been especially harsh on specific lines in the song like LL Cool Jās singing ālet bygones be bygones,ā and Paisley singing that white Americans are āstill paying for mistakes that a bunch of folks made before we came.ā
āSome people take exception to some of the lyrics [and] I respect that,ā LL Cool J said.Ā āIām sensitive to that.ā
Paisley, for one, found out about the controversy from LL Cool J, who alerted him to the backlash after the video, in which LL Cool J plays a barista, was released on YouTube Monday.
āI got a call from this guy saying, āHave you seen anything?āā Paisley said, adding that LL Cool J went on to tell him to look at Twitter.Ā āI was like, āNo, I donāt want to look at it.āā
Despite the backlash, the two stars, who will sing together again on LL Cool Jās next album, to be released later this month, say they are proud of the song and the discussion it is creating.
āLetās not be victims of things that happened so long ago,ā Paisley said.Ā āIn the end, I felt like what we had on tape was something that people needed to hear.ā
LL Cool J said, āAt the same time, letās respect it. But then after we respect it, letās also open our hearts up so we can move forward.ā
ABC Newsā Lesley Messer contributed to this report.