Kane Brown opened up about Morgan Wallen’s racial slur controversy for the first time during a recent interview, while discussing his upcoming third album Different Man, out Sept. 9.

For the first time since the incident, when Wallen was caught on camera using the n-word in early 2021, Brown shared his thoughts on the country singer’s use of the language.

“This is the first time I’ve ever even talked about this, but I personally know Morgan,” said Brown. “I texted him that day. I told him he shouldn’t have said it, but also knowing Morgan, I knew that he didn’t mean it in the way that the world thought that he meant it.”

Brown added that he would have reacted differently to Wallen if he believed he was using the language in a malicious or racist way. “I think if it was in a different context,” said Brown, “I probably would have been fighting.”

Wallen and Brown previously collaborated together on “Rockstars”—co-written by Wallen—off the deluxe edition of Brown’s 2016 self-titled debut.

As a black artist in country music, Brown said he’s often asked about the Wallen event.

“I guarantee you every artist probably got asked about it,” said Brown, who added that fellow artists like Jimmie Allen and Mickey Guyton most likely face the same question on a regular basis. “It’s like they want an answer.”

Recently signing black artist Levon Gray, who co-wrote Brown’s Different Man track “One Mississippi,” to his publishing company, Verse 2 Music, Brown said he hopes country music can become more inclusive. “Even today, I walked in somewhere and they were like, ‘Oh, my God, you did so good on ‘Dancing With the Stars,’” he explained. “I’m like, ‘That wasn’t me. That was Jimmie Allen. That’s the other black guy.’”

Different Man, which follows Brown’s 2018 release Experiment, is a collection of 17 songs, including a duet with his wife, a collaboration with Blake Shelton, and previously released singles “Grand,” “Like I Love Country Music,” “Leave You Alone,” “Whiskey Sour,” and “One Mississippi.”

Brown will support the album with the international leg of his Drunk or Dreaming Tour throughout fall 2022 in addition to the U.S. dates, featuring supporting acts Dustin Lynch, Gabby Barrett, and LOCASH. The tour will kick off on March 16, 2023, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and conclude on June 10 in Greenwood Village, Colorado.

“I’m most excited, when it comes to releasing this new project,” said Brown, “for people to see how much I’ve grown as an artist.”

(Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images for MTV/Paramount Global)

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