Country music star Toby Keith has struck up an unlikely friendship with rapper Ludacris, after teaming up with him for a photoshoot.

The musicians recently met up in New York City for a joint interview and photoshoot for the Los Angeles Daily News' USA Weekend supplement - and they've walked away friends.

Keith, 44, says, "I get more respect from rap artists than I do from my own industry. I don't always write the kind of music that country executives want. Rappers are like that, too. My words come from the street and their words come from the street.

"That slicked-up pop stuff doesn't come from the street. It's all pre-fab... I'm a huge fan of SNOOP (DOGG). He's a poet."

Ludacris, 28, adds, "People only think these are two different genres. But they're very much the same... Rap and hip-hop are about bringing people together to your neighbourhood and talking about what happens there. Country music is about the same thing - writing about where you're from.

"You've got to respect (Toby), because he's selling a ton of records right now. It makes you want to learn more about his music."