Toby Keith Won’t Hip-Hop to Get Played on Radio
Toby Keith sees a new trend in country music, and he says he wants nothing to do with it.
“You hear the hip-hop thing start kicking in, and you start going, ‘Is that what we gotta do now to have a hit?’ I don’t know how to do that,” he says to Country Weekly magazine. “Is that what I need every one of my songs to sound like now? But . . . I’m not going to change much. And when it quits working, I’ve got other stuff to do.”
Not that the Oklahoma native is opposed to expanding the barriers of the genre. He has famously released several singles that broke the traditional country mold, including 'How Do You Like Me Now' and 'I Wanna Talk About Me,' but he says he won't change his music just to get more airplay.
The 52-year-old refers to the title track of his latest album, 'Hope on the Rocks,' as a prime example. The song, which Keith wrote by himself, is one he says should have soared to the top of the charts, but instead barely broke into the Top 20, stopping at No. 18.
“It was a song that I just told the [label] staff, ‘We’re putting this out, so be ready to work it," he explains. "I gave you the ones that you wanted. You’ve had 'Made in America' and 'Beers Ago.' Now we’re going to do one that I want. . . .’ And they had hell with it. They really struggled getting it played everywhere."
The singer, who co-owns his own record label, Show Dog-Universal Music, says he doesn't blame his staff for failing to get the song to the top spot on the charts.
"You can sit on the bus and sing it to two or three people who have never heard it, and they’ll just get goose bumps and go, ‘Damn, that’s powerful," Keith adds. "But you start playing it to a twenty-something audience, and it’s like, ‘Naw, man, there ain’t no mud on that tire. That ain’t about a Budweiser can. That ain’t about a chicken dancing out by the river. That ain’t about smoking a joint by the haystack. That’s about somebody dying and sh--.’”
Hopefully, Keith's upcoming album will churn out more chart-topping hits. 'Drinks After Work' will be released on Oct. 29. The album's title track is already in the Top 30. Pre-order the record here.