As of 10:36 am on Thursday morning, my Twitter timeline has been taken over by a country-rap song called "Rascal" by an artist called RMR. Not since "Old Town Road" has a track so consumed social media, but the viral power of "Rascal" is totally unique. For one thing, it's less goofy and far more emotional. RMR — who according to our sources is 22 years old and choosing to remain anonymous for now — has pipes. Backed only by a piano interpolation of "Bless The Broken Road" by Rascal Flatts, RMR follows the original song's thrust as he sings passionate tales of how a difficult life made him who he is today. Except with lyrics about scammers, the plug, and a chorus that include the refrain "Fuck 12, fuck 12."
You can laugh: "Rascal" is keenly aware of the irony at its heart. The slick music video, full of ski masks and firearms, visualizes the song's backdrop; there are no ten-gallon hats here. But "Rascal" is made with enough genuine skill to elevate it above meme-rap. Along with RMR's incredible vocals, it's those keys — those mawkish, sentimental, beautiful keys — that turn RMR's tales of despair and redemption from the trap into a black sheep Hallmark Channel production. When country rap is good, it's great, and RMR's "Rascal" is not just one of the best I've heard in the subgenre, but I'm certain it'll be one of my favorite songs of the year too.
“I grew up on country and rap music," RMR said in an email to The FADER, "and this song is the interpretation of what the new genre should sound like.”
RMR will drop his debut EP called Drug Dealing Is A Lost Art this spring, and he's set to release a Matchbox 20-inspired single next week as well. Watch "Rascal" on repeat at the top of the page.