"If that was disrespectful to anyone, I by all means apologize," the singer tells Billboard

By Danielle Anderson
Updated October 05, 2016 06:19 PM
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Credit: Joseph Llanes exclusively for Billboard Magazine

Jason Aldean is no stranger to controversy and though he has made his peace with that, he would like to clear the air on a couple of topics.

After photos surfaced online of Aldean in blackface, dressed as rapper Lil Wayne for Halloween last year, the singer caught a lot of heat for being insensitive.

“In this day and age people are so sensitive that no matter what you do, somebody is going to make a big deal out of it,” Aldean, 39, tells Billboard, speaking out on the subject for the first time.

“Me doing that had zero malicious intent … I get that race is a touchy subject, but not everybody is that way,” he says. “Media tends to make a big deal out of things. If that was disrespectful to anyone, I by all means apologize. That was never my intention. It never crossed my mind.”

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And when it comes to the media, the “Lights Come On” singer also doesn’t appreciate labels on his music.

The term “bro-country” is often used to describe the partying-with-the-tailgate-down content of some of today’s country music, but Aldean says that’s not all he’s about.

“It’s a f—ing ridiculous term,” he says. “It’s incredibly insulting to me. It’s meant to describe guys whose songs are all about pickup trucks, drinking beer and girls. It’s meant to talk down to us – me, Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line – all of us. They haven’t bothered to listen to the body of work I’ve recorded over the years. At least take time to do your homework.”

In fact, Aldean’s body of work often pays homage to blue-collar workers and small-town Americans.

Of the title track to his new album They Don’t Know, out Friday, his message is clear: “Don’t talk down about things you’ve never experienced,” Aldean says. “I’ve traveled the world, and you go to a place like Los Angeles and people assume you just sit around on a hay bale and live in a trailer. Whenever the South is portrayed in a movie, it’s seldom flattering. It’s a song I could relate to.”