Brad Paisley has responded to the controversy about his and rapper LL Cool J's new song, "Accidental Racist," saying it was "music's turn to have the conversation."
The two co-wrote the track, which is featured on the country singer's new album, "Wheelhouse," which was released on Tuesday, April 9.
The song was leaked online a day earlier and spurred negative comments due to its questionable lyrics, which contains lines such as "If you don't judge my do-rag ... I won't judge your red flag," which references Paisley's inspiration for the song -- criticism he had received over a T-shirt depicting a Confederate flag. Paisley talked about the backlash on the "Ellen DeGeneres Show" on Tuesday.
"Well, I did a duet with LL Cool J who has become one of my best friends in the world," he said. "It sort of deals with ... I don't know if any of you have noticed but there's some racial tension here and there and it kind of deals with that and I kind of felt like, when we were writing this song, it wasn't necessarily up to the media, or I don't really trust sort of, I guess, Hollywood or, sorry-"
"I represent Hollywood," DeGeneres joked.
"Yes, she does. She runs it," Paisley said and then continued, saying. "Or sort of talk radio or anything like that to sort of deal with that anymore. I think it's music's turn to have the conversation."
"Mmhmm. And so, but you're basically saying.." DeGeneres replied.
"I don't know," Paisley said. "We're sort of asking the question, as a proud Southerner and he as a black New Yorker, it's sort of like- One of my favorite lines of the song is he says 'I think the relationship between the Mason-Dixon needs some fixin.' ... leave it to a rapper to put it so simply and so beautifully."
"Make your own mind up. That's fine," he concluded, adding jokingly: "You can throw things at me, I'm alright."
Paisley has been promoting the album all week online and also at the 2013 ACM Awards, where he performed the new track "Beat This Summer" with John Mayer, who was his guest guitarist at the ceremony on Sunday. LL Cool J introduced them. (Check out PHOTOS of celebrities at the 2013 ACM Awards.)
LL Cool J's take:
When asked about "Accidental Racist" in an interview with CNN after the ACM Awards, the rapper said: "Music is about, and art is about, connecting different people, and building bridges and breaking the rules. If it's not compelling, and it's not complex and it's not interesting, then what are we doing it for? So I think that's the right move."
"I needed to do something that was going to be interesting like that, and shake things up, and jump out of the box," he added. "I'm really proud of it, and I hope the world hears it and enjoys it."
Check out more info about "Accidental Racist" and its lyrics and tell us what you think about it by voting in our poll.