A musical pairing we'd like to see

Rapper Wiz Khalifa and country star Trace Adkins are playing separate events at the Pozo Saloon this month — but what if they teamed up?

ppemberton@thetribunenews.comApril 17, 2013 

Rapper Wiz Khalifa and country star Trace Adkins

MCCLATCHY TRIBUNE

Ever since Brad Paisley and LL Cool J released their controversial single “Accidental Racist,” we’ve had one persistent question:

Brad Paisley and LL Cool J?

A country singer from West Virginia and a hip-hop artist from Long Island wouldn’t seem like an ideal duet. But, then again, that’s probably the point.

And that got us thinking. Since rapper Wiz Khalifa headlines this weekend’s Higher Grounds Music Festival and country star Trace Adkins headlines next weekend’s Pozo Stampede — both at the Pozo Saloon — we’d like to suggest a second hip-hop/country collaboration.

While Khalifa and Adkins might seem remarkably different — a skinny weed smoker from Pittsburgh and a 6-foot-6 roughneck from Louisiana — we did a little research and found they actually have much in common. Here’s why the collaboration would work:

LIKE MINDS

OK, sure, Khalifa relies on the beats while Adkins calls up the twang. But they’re still thinking along the same lines. While Khalifa has a song called “‘Bout Me,” Adkins has one called “Songs About Me.” Adkins recorded “You’re Gonna Miss This,” while Khalifa recorded “When I’m Gone.” Khalifa, “My First Ride”; Adkins, “In My Car.”

Collaboration: Khalifa samples Adkins for a new song, “You’re Gonna Miss This When I’m Gone (Songs ‘Bout Me).”

PLAYING THE PART

While Khalifa and fellow rapper Snoop Dogg played teenagers in the movie “Mac & Devin Go to High School,” Adkins and fellow country star Travis Tritt played prison convicts in an episode of the TV show “Yes, Dear.”

Collaboration: “Wiz & Trace Go to Prison”

TWO CHIEFS IN A POD

In 2009, Adkins appeared in local commercials to promote season tickets for the Kansas City Chiefs football team. Khalifa’s video “Work Hard Play Hard” features Steve Breaston, a Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver, who is from Khalifa’s home town, Pittsburgh.

Collaboration: A new version of the team’s fight song, “Chiefs Chop.”

TROOPERS

Through the USO, Adkins has traveled into combat zones to entertain the troops. Meanwhile, Khalifa’s father was in the military, and he grew up on military bases in Germany, Japan and the U.K.

Collaboration: A song for the troops

JIMI JAMS

Khalifa, who cites Jimi Hendrix as one of his influences, dressed like the guitar god for the cover of his album “O.N.I.F.C.” On his fan website, Adkins described his music as “combat country,” explaining, “Combat country, to me, means a lot of things. First of all, it can mean going from Merle Haggard to Jimi Hendrix in the same set.”

Collaboration: A cover of “Purple Haze” with Khalifa dressed as Hendrix for the video.

JAILHOUSE ROCK

In 2010, Khalifa — known for his marijuana advocacy — was arrested for possession and trafficking of marijuana. A decade earlier, Adkins had been arrested for driving under the influence.

Collaboration: A cover of “Folsom Prison Blues” with Adkins dressed as Johnny Cash for the video.

HOMEBOYS

Government officials in Adkins’ hometown of Sarepta, LA, honored him with a sign that declares, “Welcome to Sarepta, home of Trace Adkins.” In 2012, the Pittsburgh City Council declared December 12 to be Wiz Khalifa Day in the city.

Collaboration: A two-city tour guaranteed to sell out.

GOT THEIR GAME ON

Khalifa is an avid sports fan, whose song “Black and Yellow” was adopted by the Pittsburgh Steelers football team. Adkins played defensive end for Louisiana Tech University. “I think I enjoyed it so much because I absolutely loved to hit people,” Adkins wrote in his autobiography.

Collaboration: New Monday Night Football theme, “Black and Blue.”

FIGHT THE POWER

After rapper Kanye West dissed his ex-girlfriend, Amber Rose, during a performance at the Coachella music festival, Khalifa — Rose’s boyfriend — confronted West, and the two nearly came to blows. During the Big Men of Country: Size Matters Tour in 2002, Adkins and country singer Darryl Worley got into a brawl and trashed a hotel room.

Collaboration: Greatest hits.

CLASSIC WRECK

Last year, Khalifa got unwanted publicity when various gossip sites, including TMZ, reported that he wrecked his 1969 Chevy Chevelle in L.A., then fled the scene of the accident. In 1979, at age 17, Adkins rammed his 1955 Chevy pickup into a school bus, resulting in punctured lungs, broken ribs and a severed nose.

Collaboration: A shared driver.

IF YOU GO

Higher Grounds Festival (Wiz Khalifa, Iration, Travis Barker and Yelawolk as Psycho White, The Green, Katchafire, Berner, Chevy Woods, Wheeland Brothers, Vokab Kompany)
Noon Saturday
$30 to $75

Pozo Stampede (Trace Adkins, Joe Nichols, Thompson Square)
Noon April 27
$28.50 to $130

Pozo Saloon, 90 West Pozo Road, Pozo
438-4225
www.pozosaloon.com

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