Gone Country: 10 crazy pop-country collaboration predictions

These are crazy times we live in. A reality TV star is running for president. Hoverboards are things you can buy. And country artists like Kenny Chesney are recording songs with pop artists like P!nk.

It’s a smart business decision, to be sure. And Kenny’s just following in the footsteps of other artists before him, from Florida Georgia Line and the Backstreet Boys to Brad Paisley and Demi Lovato to Dierks Bentley and Elle King.

All this cross-promotion isn’t new, but it’s certainly become more rampant these days. Which made me wonder— What are the most crazy country-pop collaborations I could think of? Well, here’s the top 10, ranked from least outrageous to most outrageous. Listen up, record execs.

10. Justin Timberlake and Chris Stapleton

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 14: Justin Timberlake performs on stage at Barclays Center on December 14, 2014 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for M2M Construction)

NEW YORK, NY – DECEMBER 14: Justin Timberlake performs on stage at Barclays Center on December 14, 2014 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for M2M Construction)

This one has the best shot at happening, since they actually performed together at the 2015 CMAs. I’d buy a duet album from them. Plus, Timberlake and Stapleton together on a version of “Fire Away” is tailor-made for radio appeal.

9. Jason Aldean and Ludacris (again)

They already got together on “Dirt Road Anthem,” which means duplicating that success shouldn’t be hard to do. Think about it. “Fast 8” comes out soon. Just make the song about fast cars, friends, freedom and family and you’ve got a hit.

via GIPHY

8. Bo Burnham and Wheeler Walker, Jr.

Bo Burnham performs in Pittsburgh in 2012. Photo by Flickr user Jennifer.

Bo Burnham performs in Pittsburgh in 2012. Photo by Flickr user Jennifer.

If you haven’t heard Wheeler Walker, Jr.’s album “Redneck S—,” you’re denying yourself a wonderfully profane good time. The alter ego of comedian Ben Hoffman’s debut album sounds like a raunch film set to steel guitar. Combine that gleeful anarchism with Burnham’s piano-led humor, and there’s a great commentary on country music there somewhere. Speaking of, have you heard “Panderin’“? It’s great.

7. Britney Spears and Sam Hunt

Sam Hunt performs in concert during the iHeartCountry Festival at The Frank Erwin Center on April 30, 2016 in Austin, Texas. Suzanne Cordeiro for American-Statesman

Sam Hunt performs in concert during the iHeartCountry Festival at The Frank Erwin Center on April 30, 2016 in Austin, Texas. Suzanne Cordeiro for American-Statesman

Rapping, synths, Auto-Tune, timed drums and a shared chorus could make this collaboration the song of the summer. Bonus points if Sam throws something in there about how he used to listen to “…Oops, I Did It Again” as a teen.

6. Dolly Parton and Nicki Minaj

FILE - In this June 28, 2015 file photo, Nicki Minaj appears at the BET Awards in Los Angeles. Taylor Swift apologized to Minaj Thursday, July 23, on Twitter after the pair traded words Tuesday after MTV announced the nominees for the VMAs, where Swift is the leader with nine. Minaj was upset she didn't earn a nomination for video of the year for “Anaconda” and launched a series of tweets about how slim women earn top nominations. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)

FILE – In this June 28, 2015 file photo, Nicki Minaj appears at the BET Awards in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)

I’m thinking like a dueling banjos/yodeling jam between the two respective queens of their genres. And it would have to be a feminist anthem, obviously.

5. Loretta Lynn and Drake

Loretta Lynn performs at the BBC Music showcase at Stubb's during South by Southwest March 17. (Tom McCarthy Jr. for AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

Loretta Lynn performs at the BBC Music showcase at Stubb’s during South by Southwest March 17. (Tom McCarthy Jr. for AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

They both started from the bottom, now they’re here. I’m envisioning a nice back-and-forth about the road to fame and the trials of success over a melancholy dancehall beat, full of homespun wisdom from Kentucky and the 6, respectively.

4. Luke Bryan and Fergie

NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 15: Recording artist Luke Bryan, winner of the Male Vocalist of the Year award, poses in the press room during the 2014 American Country Countdown Awards at Music City Center on December 15, 2014 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Sara Kauss/Getty Images)

Recording artist Luke Bryan poses in the press room during the 2014 American Country Countdown Awards at Music City Center on December 15, 2014 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Sara Kauss/Getty Images)

Fergie’s new song is all about how she “makes that MILF money,” and Bryan’s been trying to go in a more sultry, adult-contemporary direction with a few of his songs on “Kill the Lights.” I have no clue how this collaboration would turn out, but something like it is probably in the back of some studio suit’s mind, and it would be amazing/horrible to watch.

3. Jake Owen and Shakira

ORG XMIT: BRO157 Columbian singer Shakira performs at the opening concert for the soccer World Cup at Orlando stadium in Soweto, South Africa, Thursday, June 10, 2010. The Soccer World Cup kicks off on Friday, June 11. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

Columbian singer Shakira performs at the opening concert for the soccer World Cup at Orlando stadium in Soweto, South Africa, Thursday, June 10, 2010. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

Jake meets Shakira on the beach somewhere, he sings her a love song, Coronoa is drunk, hips are truthful, multiple music markets are satisfied, everyone goes home happy.

2. Granger Smith and Tiffany Trump

inger Granger Smith attends the 2016 iHeartCountry Festival at The Frank Erwin Center on April 30, 2016 in Austin, Texas. Suzanne Cordeiro for American-Statesman

inger Granger Smith attends the 2016 iHeartCountry Festival at The Frank Erwin Center on April 30, 2016 in Austin, Texas. Suzanne Cordeiro for American-Statesman

Probably would be a song all about how life is actually better in the big city, where you can live it up, party it down, and not worry about your minor-league woes.

1. Country Taylor Swift feat. Pop Taylor Swift feat. Kanye West feat. Kim Kardashian

ORG XMIT: NY455 FILE-This Sept. 13, 2009 file photo shows singer Kanye West taking the microphone from singer Taylor Swift as she accepts the "Best Female Video" award during the MTV Video Music Awards in New York. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow,File)

ORG XMIT: NY455 FILE-This Sept. 13, 2009 file photo shows singer Kanye West taking the microphone from singer Taylor Swift as she accepts the “Best Female Video” award during the MTV Video Music Awards in New York. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow,File)

Less of a collaboration than a full-on rap battle, this song would sample KimYe’s conversation with T-Swift about “Famous,” and incorporate verses from Swift’s beginnings as a teen country starlet, West’s early hip-hop career and Swift’s later “1989” era, all set to West’s “Life of Pablo”-style production. The song would be as schizophrenic and calculating as their relationship, and it would only vault their super stars higher.

Got any other crazy pop-country collaborations? Send ’em my way @jakeharris4 or jharris@statesman.com.

Gone Country aims to thoughtfully explore the country music genre and where it’s headed, with a focus on national trends and buzzworthy news of the week. For info about album releases and concerts, check out this week’s Country Music Roundup.

Questions, comments, suggestions? Let me know on Twitter @jakeharris4 or through email at jharris@statesman.com.

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