(AllHipHop News) Jimmie Allen is already damn near a household name in the world of Country music, and now he’s hoping to make a name for himself within Hip-Hop.
The 34-year old African-American singer is one of the top artists in Country, after scoring two back-to-back #1 singles with the hits “Best Shot” (2018) and “Make Me Want To” (2019), both from his platinum-selling album Mercury Lane.
His new EP “Bettie James” is a collaborative album with the biggest names in the music business.
Artists like Darius Rucker of Hootie & the Blowfish, Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley, Charlie Pride and rap star Nelly are featured on the seven-track EP.
According to Jimmie, his collaboration track “Good Times Roll” with Nelly happened purely by circumstance.
“It was so random because I was in Nashville driving around, I just had a meeting. And I saw him walk out of where I had the meeting,” Jimmie Allen explained to AllHipHop.com. “I was like ‘is that Nelly?’ So I call my manager, he gets in contact with him and was like, ‘Hey, yeah, he’s in town writing and stuff.'”
Jimmie held off on a trip to Minnesota he had planned the next day, so he could get down to the business of writing a hit song with Nelly, and the result was the lead off song on “Bettie James” titled “Good Times Roll.”
“Nelly’s a beast. That was my first time meeting him,” Jimmie Allen said. “I’ve been a fan for a long time. But he’s great at what he does. And he’s fast with it, too. He hears melodies and he hears things, I think different than a lot of artists. His musical palette is pretty diverse. You can just hear that, his approach to music, and kind of just everything he’s done throughout his career. So for me to be able to write a song with him was mind-blowing and was definitely on my list of things I wanted to do in my career.”
During an interview with AllHipHop, Jimmie, who went to an HBCU (Delaware State University) for college, touched on the difficulties of being a Black man in a predominantly white genre of music.
The former “American Idol” star revealed he faced discrimination as he was searching for his record deal and on tour, especially in the South, where a heated debate over the confederate flag still rages over ties to its history and white supremacists.
Just last week, President Trump said the U.S. was in a “culture war” and even defended the confederate flag as a symbol.
“My stance is very simple: It’s freedom of speech,” President Trump said in an interview after NASCAR decided to ban the flag.
“It’s crazy how when people want to take down something that has to do with the mistreatment of Black people, there’s an issue,” Jimmie Allen said. “If there was the Hitler statue up that would have been down…history or not man, wrong is wrong and right is right. The crazy thing is I’ve had some interesting experiences. I remember one time I was at a show. And this dude came up to me and said I loved your concert, I’m a true fan. He quoted songs off my record and said, “can you sign my vest for me?” I was like, “Yeah.” He turns around his vest is a big old confederate flag. Well, I signed right in the middle of it.”
Despite the difficulties, Jimmie joins a growing list of Black artists like Kane Brown, Mickey Guyton, and Aaron Vance to name a few, who have become extremely popular making what is labeled as Country music.
But Jimmie isn’t the one to label his music or limit his artistic possibilities. For his next round of collaborations, Jimmie Allen is hoping to work with Timbaland, Usher, and even Snoop Dogg.
“My ultimate goal [is] to let younger Black people know that might want to do country, to do it! Young Black people that might want to be a rocker, [do it]. We can’t let society put us in the box as Black people,” Jimmie Allen told AllHipHop.com.
Check out Jimmie Allen’s new EP “Bettie James” here and read AllHipHop’s full interview with the country superstar.