Hick-Hop duo ‘Long Cut’ creates new sounds from traditional southern sentiments

Elena Waldman

Two men stand outside building and hold up rock star hand signs.
Country/rap duo ‘Long Cut’ (Kerrigan Barry | Kore PR)

With Trump embellished spit cups and lips packed heavily with chewing tobacco, “hick-hop” duo Long Cut are making their way through the country and rap scene.

The two friends, JT Adams and Bryan Thomas, brand themselves as the true southern-rooted patrons of music that speaks to individuals like themselves, who are unapologetically country.

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Though Long Cut has just begun to break through the hick-hop scene, Adams and Thomas have been playing music long before the inception of the band. Adams, originally starting out as an exclusive country artist, mentioned that much of the inspiration to incorporate rap into his music came from fellow established hick-hop musician Demun Jones.

“We both have years of country music behind us. I’ve won awards as a country artist, toured and played on iHeart radio,” Thomas said. “So I spent a long time building a following as a country music artist from here to Nashville. Playing with Demun is where the inspiration came from for the hick-hop thing.”

Long Cut, named after a type of chewing tobacco, was conceptualized by Adams and Thomas just 4 months ago. Adams noted that the name of the band came up organically, and seemed to fit the image of the band well.

“We were in a Wendy’s drive-through, going through about six or seven different names,” JT said. “And all of a sudden I said [to Thomas], ‘Give me some Long Cut real quick’. And there it was.”

THERE’S ALWAYS BEEN THIS CONTENTION THAT A GENRE HAS TO BE A CERTAIN THING AND I DISAGREE ENTIRELY, I THINK YOU CAN DO WHATEVER YOU WANT” Bryan Thomas, Long Cut Member

 

Once developing a passion for creating innovative sounds, Long Cut seamlessly came together. The duo hit the ground running almost immediately after the band was established. 

“(Thomas) calls me up and tells me to drop what I’m doing and get to the studio,” Adams said. “We were in the studio for about two weeks, and next thing we knew, we had a show booked. We hadn’t even had a name yet.”

Hick-hop, still in its adolescent years, has just recently reached the mainstream with artists like Florida Georgia Line and Luke Bryan. Though it is still evolving as a genre, much of hick-hop consists of typical country lyrics and instrumentals laid over a heavier hip-hop beat.

“What we realized is there’s nobody doing this well,” Thomas said. “You got Demun Jones who is absolutely unbelievable to watch and listen to, Upchurch and Colt Ford. The list of really, really big artists is really short. Whereas in country music, we had to compete with thousands of really big artists.”

Two men sit in lawn chairs. A paragraph of text is next to the photo describing their new song.
‘Long Cut’ preview description of newest single, ‘Pleasant Grove’
(Kerrigan Barry | Kore PR)

Pursuing this newer and innovative genre also lends itself to Long Cut’s ability to cultivate all different kinds of audiences. Thomas and Adams said they prefer audiences with an open mind, which often times comes from younger demographics.

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“I love the college crowd,” Thomas said. “The stuff we are doing now is country-rap, so we can play the hip-hop shows or the country shows and get some acceptance from either.” 

 The duo is very particular about which shows they choose to play at because they want to make sure audiences will enjoy their sound.

“If there’s a lot of young people who like country then we do really well,” Thomas said. “We have to balance what we play and figure out what shows are going to give us the best response which for us, is bigger events, mud rallies and stuff like Greeley Stampede.

For a group so novel to the hick-hop scene, Long Cut has reached quite a few milestones. They’ve sold out several shows, recorded 12 songs and released their first single and music video, ‘Country Roads’ on their Youtube channel.

Besides expressing stereotypical southern sentiments such as drinking beer and driving trucks, their new single, “Pleasant Grove,” emphasizes some of the duo’s ideologies, such as the importance of freedom of speech and some of their issues with the music industry. 

“My biggest issue is there’s so many people who talk shit on artists because they don’t fit the mold of the genre,” Thomas said. “There’s always been this contention that a genre has to be a certain thing and I disagree entirely, I think you can do whatever you want. Everybody says there’s a formula, and you have to do it a certain way to make it big. I call bullshit on that.”

Long Cut’s newest single, “Pleasant Grove” is available on iTunes. 

According to Adams, they aimed to bring back southern values with “Pleasant Grove” by touching on more wholesome elements of the southern lifestyle.

“The first line of the song is literally, ‘Ima go hard cus’ of freedom of speech’”, Adams said. “People today feel like they have to watch their mouth all the time. Especially artists. You can’t be an artist without being criticized to the utmost. It can ruin your life.”

The duo welcomes the controversy, though, and insists they will continue to fully express themselves through their music, regardless of possible repercussions.

“If they spit in a cup and drive a truck they’ll probably like us,” Adams said. 

Elena Waldman can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com and on Twitter @elenawaldman0.