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Describing himself as “funnier than a chili dog fart in a space suit” and “crazier than a soup sandwich,” Upchurch (aka Upchurch the Redneck) is the hick-hop alter ego of comic, rapper, and musician Ryan Upchurch. A knowing parody of the idiosyncrasies and stereotypes of young men in the Deep South, the Upchurch character was born in a series of homemade videos posted online in 2014, and then expanded into a series of recordings that combined comedy, rap, and rock. By the early 2020s, Upchurch grew more serious, alternating between hip-hop and country albums.
Upchurch was born in Pegram, Tennessee on May 24, 1991. He developed Upchurch the Redneck while goofing around with friends. Videos uploaded to YouTube gradually gained him an audience far beyond acquaintances. He issued his first single, “Raise Hell and Eat Cornbread,” in 2014, and it led to the independent 2015 EP Cheatham County, which reached Billboard’s rap and country album charts. The full-length Heart of America followed in January 2016, with elder kindred spirit Bubba Sparxxx as a guest on the track “Keep It Country.” Upchurch also capitalized on his growing fan base by starting a line of merchandise, RHEC (named for the tune “Raise Hell and Eat Cornbread”). Bad Mutha Fucka appeared that December and was his second full-length release of 2016.
He had another busy year in 2017, issuing a straight-up country EP, Summer Love, under his full name in May, followed by a pair of long-players, Son of the South and King of Dixie, under the Upchurch moniker. Both of the latter were released on his own Redneck Nation label. In April 2018, he issued the album Creeker, which fused his rap stylings with hard rock guitars. In December of that year, Upchurch returned with another full-length, River Rat. Parachute arrived quickly on its heels, appearing digitally in September 2019. Released in early 2020, Everlasting Country found Upchurch turning to relatively straight-ahead country music, but he returned to hip-hop in 2021 with Hideas: The Album and Mud to Gold.
Same Ol Same Ol, also delivered in 2021, found Upchurch singing country again, this time with a slightly softer touch. He swung back toward rap with People's Champ, his first record of 2022. ~ Andy Kellman & Mark Deming