Newcomer Colt Ford is a self-described "funny, fat white dude" who, in spite of being immersed in country music growing up in Georgia, very nearly had a career as a hip-hop artist. He even recorded an album with producer Jermaine Dupri (Mariah Carey, Usher), although it was never released.

"I'm glad it worked out the way it did," Colt tells Billboard. "I might have made a million dollars, but it wouldn't have been authentic. At the end of the day, that's what music is about."

Still, his affinity for hip-hop has found its way into the material on Colt's debut disc, 'Ride Through the Country.' The title track, which is the current single, does feature some singing on it -- from John Michael Montgomery. The album also includes performances by Jamey Johnson, in addition to members of the rock bands Lit and No Doubt.

Before his music career, Colt was a professional golfer for six years. With his wife's encouragement, he soon began experimenting with the mixture of country music and hip-hop.

"I never thought it would work," he says. "I didn't want to do something that would be stupid as hell. I wanted people to hear it and say, 'That's country.' "

But whatever you do, don't call it "country rap." "I hate [that] term," says Colt. "It throws people off. I consider myself a country singer like Toby Keith or the Charlie Daniels Band. That's what I do."

Colt will be touring with Jason Aldean and Montgomery Gentry in the coming months, and has done a remix of 'Roll with Me,' which he performs in concert with the duo. While his unique blend of styles may confuse some, Colt says simply, "I'm just a 300-pound country boy who shops at Wal-Mart. I'm not singing a three-minute love song, but people like what I do."