Still from the music video for Jason Aldean’s controversial song “Try That in a Small Town” (via YouTube)

Jason Aldean Isn’t ‘Pro-Lynching.’ And His Critics Know It.

Coleman Hughes on the faux outrage that made the country song #1 on iTunes.

Pro-gun lyrics are apparently no longer permissible in American popular music. That, at least, is the implication behind the attempt to cancel Jason Aldean, the country music star, for his new music video: “Try That in a Small Town.” 

Aldean’s video features news footage of looters and rioters, which looks similar to the violent scenes that erupted during the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020, though it is not explicit. Later, images appear idealizing life in small, conservative towns: family, community, gun ownership. After critics accused the video of being “pro-gun violence” and “pro-lynching”—including fellow country star Sheryl Crow, who accused Aldean of “promoting violence”—the Country Music Television channel pulled the video last week after just days of airtime.

As a fan of rap music and a rapper myself, I can’t help but notice the hypocrisy behind this outrage. While it is true that Aldean’s lyrics are pro-gun and contain a brand of machismo that might be off-putting to some, they are mild compared to the lyrics routinely heard in mainstream rap songs.

This post is for paying subscribers only


Already have an account? Log in

our Comments

Use common sense here: disagree, debate, but don't be a .

the fp logo
comment bg

Welcome to The FP Community!

Our comments are an editorial product for our readers to have smart, thoughtful conversations and debates — the sort we need more of in America today. The sort of debate we love.   

We have standards in our comments section just as we do in our journalism. If you’re being a jerk, we might delete that one. And if you’re being a jerk for a long time, we might remove you from the comments section. 

Common Sense was our original name, so please use some when posting. Here are some guidelines:

  • We have a simple rule for all Free Press staff: act online the way you act in real life. We think that’s a good rule for everyone.
  • We drop an occasional F-bomb ourselves, but try to keep your profanities in check. We’re proud to have Free Press readers of every age, and we want to model good behavior for them. (Hello to Intern Julia!)
  • Speaking of obscenities, don’t hurl them at each other. Harassment, threats, and derogatory comments that derail productive conversation are a hard no.
  • Criticizing and wrestling with what you read here is great. Our rule of thumb is that smart people debate ideas, dumb people debate identity. So keep it classy. 
  • Don’t spam, solicit, or advertise here. Submit your recommendations to if you really think our audience needs to hear about it.
Close Guidelines