Despite being an outsider, the rapper-turned-country-singer won three awards on Sunday, thanks to his confessional songs that won over fans.
The inked-up crooner was overcome with emotion during his performance in Austin, Texas, broadcasted on CBS, as he expressed gratitude to the country music industry for embracing him and gave a heartfelt shoutout to those who shared his struggles.
SON OF A SINNER Wins At The CMT Awards
He assured them that anyone could become anything they aspired to be. With a triumphant shout, he declared his own success as proof, having once confided in others that his dream was to be a country singer. And now, as he stood on stage at the CMT Awards, clutching the trophy for Male Video of the Year, he reveled in the realization of his ambition.
“You can be whatever you want to be. I promise you that. I told them that I wanted to be a country singer and I am standing here at the CMT Awards with the male video of the year, baby.”
Jason’s childhood memories are rooted in the southern community of Antioch, located in Nashville, Tennessee. Currently, he shares his life with his wife, the popular artist Bunnie XO, and two children from his previous relationship.
“Pop Another Pill,” the 2010 hit collaboration between Jelly Roll and Memphis rapper Lil Wyte, became a viral sensation with over 6.3 million YouTube views. The song’s success paved the way for the hip-hop group SNO’s album, Year Round, which was released on the Hypnotize Minds label in April 2011.
Produced by DJ Paul and Juicy J, SNO‘s “Come Here White Girl” was featured among XXL’s “The 10 Most Unforgettable Collaborations with White Rappers.”
The Show Went Ahed
As the night fell, he summoned a choir to accompany his prayerful song “Need a Favor,” compelling the audience to lift their hands high in reverence.
The concert began on a solemn note with Kelsea Ballerini, the co-host and country crooner, reading out the names of the six individuals who lost their lives in a recent school shooting in Nashville. She empathized with the audience, drawing from her own traumatic experience of witnessing a similar incident in her high school cafeteria back in 2008, and pleaded for concrete measures to ensure the safety of children and their families.
Before the main event, country performers paraded the red carpet, adorned with black ribbons, in a poignant tribute to the shooting victims.
The show exuded a sense of prioritized nostalgia, with performances that merged rock, blues, and country straight from the heart of Texas. It was a beautiful mix of tributes, covers, and newer artists, all while showcasing fan-favorite hit songs.
During the awards show, Shania Twain, the country superstar, and five-time Grammy winner was presented with the Equal Play Award for being a “visible and vocal advocate” for diverse voices in country music. The highlight of the night was when Texas native and Grammy-winning rapper Megan Thee Stallion introduced Twain and the duo danced and hugged to Twain’s hit song, “Man, I Feel Like a Woman.”
Lainey Wilson took home two awards, the female video of the year for “Heart Like a Truck” and the collaborative video of the year for “Wait in the Truck” with HARDY.
Co-host Kane Brown and his wife, Katelyn, won the last award of the night for video of the year for their duet, “Thank God.”
The talented Kelsea Ballerini took to the stage, accompanied by drag artists, as states across the country considered legally limiting drag show performances. The Tennessee native performed “If You Go Down (I’m Going Down Too)” while dancing with Kennedy Davenport, Jan Sport, Manila Luzon, and Olivia Lux, all stars of the show “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”
Collaborations were the highlight of the three-hour show. Country Music Hall of Famer Wynonna Judd and Ashley McBryde gave an outstanding performance of Foreigner’s “I Want to Know What Love Is.”
Pop singer Stefani and country singer Carly Pearce sang No Doubt’s mid-1990s pop-punk hit “Just a Girl,” while rocker Alanis Morissette brought more ’90s rock to the stage with a group performance of “You Oughta Know” featuring Wilson, Ingrid Andress, Madeline Edwards, and Morgan Wade.
The most-awarded artist in CMT history with 25 awards, Carrie Underwood, performed “Hate My Heart” as fireworks lit up the Austin night.
Four-time Grammy winner Clark Jr. also performed a tribute to the late Texas guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughn at the top of the show.
Lynyrd Skynyrd, the southern rockers, was honored with a tribute performance following the death of the last original member, Gary Rossington.
The show wrapped up with ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons, Slash of Guns N’ Roses, and the Allman Brothers’ Warren Haynes and Chuck Leavell, along with singers Paul Rodgers and Cody Johnson, and backup vocals from LeAnn Rimes and Judd.