Country music and rap music, so alike and yet so different. Different: banjos (Bubba Sparxxx excepted), general twanginess, pick-up trucks. Alike: occasionally racist, lots of guns, started (to some extent) by black people, yet fawned over by bearded white twenty-something transplanted Brooklynites. So, kissing cousins basically.

On Sunday the Academy of Country Music Awards popped off and, full disclosure and all: we didn't watch. Contemporary country music is real popular, and that dress with the tassels Kacey Musgrave wore at the Grammys was pretty cool, but today's country music is a watered down, formulaic derivative of classic country. Put it this way: music fans who try to argue rap music is better today than it was 20 years ago should be gently patted on the head and tucked in at nap time. Music fans who try to argue that country music is better today than it was 50 years ago should be shot. (Hey, told you they like guns. Also: totes and absolutes kidding. Need it be said? Please don't shoot anyone.)

But enough about shooting people! Country music has a rich and varied history, and it has rewards for open-minded listeners. It's half past noon somewhere, time to draw the blinds, pour a shot and a beer, and hear that lonesome whistle blow. Here's a Rap Fan's Guide to Country Music.