The 2014 CMT Music Awards are tonight (June 4) at 8/7 p.m. on CMT. If you know country, then you know that. But for those not in the know, the world of country music can be as confusing as jumping into “Game Of Thrones” in season 3, episode 9. What’s missing? Context! Here, we’ve compiled a handy reference guide to understanding country stars based on their parallels in the hip-hop world.
Tim McGraw = Jay Z
In addition to being titans in their respective genres, these two are also both avid sports fans. Jay Z’s a certified sports agent and McGraw is a minority owner of the Nashville Kats arena football team. Oh, and they’re both half of a power couple.
Faith Hill = Beyonce
Speaking of power couples, Faith Hill is the woman beside McGraw and a veritable powerhouse in her own right. Like Beyoncé, she’s been known to duet with her man, but also has an impressive list of hit solo singles under her belt. Both women are often noted for their business savvy and pop-culture influence. And neither of them is too hard on the eyes.
Toby Keith = Kanye West
It’s hard to imagine anyone giving Kanye a run for his insane amount of money when it comes to having a … very healthy self-image, but Toby finds a way. West may contend that he’s a legend in his own time, but Keith has consistently written songs where the theme is “be yourself at all costs.” Regardless of what happens with either of these guys’ careers, at least they’ll always have their #1 fan (themselves).
Eric Church = Wiz Khalifa
“Herbal refreshment” may not have as big of a role in country music as whiskey, but Eric Church is looking to change that. His hit song “Smoke a Little Smoke” has made him almost as much a poster child for smoking as Khalifa, who has in the past reportedly said he can spend as much as $10,000 a month on the product.
Taylor Swift = Iggy Azalea
These two young superstars have more in common than blond hair and an adorable smile. Both artists have proven to have major crossover appeal because of the way they fuse their respective styles with pop.
Trace Adkins = A$AP Rocky
These artists may be a few decades apart, but they’re eye to eye when it comes to bizarre, public run-ins with the law. A$AP Rocky was arrested in 2012 in connection with a fight in a clothing store that was filmed, and Adkins recently got a taste of the old matching bracelets after getting into an altercation with none other than a Trace Adkins impersonator. (Apparently imitation is the most sincere form of getting into a fight when booze is involved.)
Garth Brooks = Dr. Dre
Regardless of the kind of music you make, it appears that the secret to an explosive career is having friends in high or “low places.” Both Brooks and Dre have enjoyed several decades of wild financial success and are considered legends in their own time.
Miranda Lambert = Nicki Minaj
Nicki may have more than a few songs about being a bad girl, but Miranda has based an entire career on the subject. The fiery songstress’ lyrics often reference revenge, guns and breakups gone horribly wrong (or right, depending which side you’re on).
Brad Paisley = Macklemore
Sometimes when it comes to making a statement, it’s the thought that counts. And thought no one’s quite sure what thoughts exactly went into Paisley’s duet with L.L. Cool J, “The Accidental Racist.” The well-meaning meditation on the dangers of racism was panned by many, but at least the intention behind it is proof that socially conscious Paisley is the Macklemore of country.
Kenny Chesney = Action Bronson
Kenny Chesney may not have Bronson’s “chill as hell” facial hair, but we’ll give him chillax cred based on the fact that he owns a yacht and spends most of his time at his home in the Virgin Islands. Whether rapping about food (like Bronson) or singing about island life, both of these guys clearly appreciate the importance of enjoying life.
Watch the 2014 CMT Music Awards live Wednesday, June 4 at 8/7c p.m. on CMT.
Photo Credits: Andrew H. Walker, Ian Gavan, Ethan Miller, Sean Gardner, Kevin Winter, Christopher Polk, Mike Coppola, Frazer Harrison, Astrid Stawiarz, Chelsea Lauren, Jim Dyson, David Becker, Rick Diamond/Getty Images