Brad Paisley thought “Accidental Racist” would be “an interesting conversation between country music and rap music,” but he didn’t expect his collaboration with LL Cool J to become a point of controversy.
Paisley told Jay Leno on The Tonight Show that he had been thinking a lot about racism recently, inspired in part by last year’s movies Lincoln and Django Unchained. He didn’t intend to put the topic to rest in “Accidental Racist” so much as raise questions, he said.
“What we’re trying to do is explore what happens when two people have a dialogue,” Paisley said. “The entire album Wheelhouse is meant to touch on some themes that I think aren’t normally touched on in music, and in the context of the album, the song makes a little more sense.”
Although he’s dismayed that some listeners have misinterpreted the song, he said he hopes that “something good can come of this.”
“We don’t expect to get the answers in this song,” Paisley said. “It’s not perfect, but it is honest, and it comes from a good place.”
Though Paisley had said earlier this week that he “wouldn’t change a thing” about Wheelhouse, which came out Tuesday, he sounded less certain when Leno asked, “Would you do it over again?”
“You know what, I don’t know,” Paisley said. “I guess so.”