Lil Nas X responds to Billboard chart controversy with “Old Town Road” remix

Lil Nas X, Billboard, Billboard Charts

The up and coming artist has
lassoed country legend Billy Ray Cyrus for the remix to his viral hit.

Lil Nas X knows better than to fight words with words. The Atlanta artist, whose viral hit “Old Town Road” was removed from the Hot 100 Country chart by Billboard because it did not “embrace enough elements of today’s country music,” has responded to the recent controversy around his music with a new remix featuring genre legend Billy Ray Cyrus. Take a listen:

The remix of “Old Town Road” features the same structure and production of the original song, only now there is also a verse and chorus is featuring Cyrus’ iconic vocals. The man behind “Achy Breaky Heart” sings about living like a rockstar, buying expensive guitars, and being a modern-day Marlboro Man who yearns to return to simpler times (on the “Old Town Road”). It’s a fitting addition to the already great track, and the internet seems to agree. Since its release on Friday, April 5, both Cyrus and the remix of “Old Town Road” have been the top trending topics on Twitter, and the official stream of the song has been trending on YouTube.

Cyrus also shared some insight and support with Lil Nas X on social media, writing “Been watching everything going on with OTR. When I got thrown off the charts, Waylon Jennings said to me “Take this as a compliment” means you’re doing something great! Only Outlaws are outlawed. Welcome to the club!”

Paired with the song’s removal from the Hot 100 Country chart was a statement from Billboard claiming that their decision “had absolutely nothing to do with the race of the artist.” When asked what he thought of the potential racial motivation of the removal, Lil Nas X said: “I believe whenever you’re trying something new, it’s always going to get some kind of bad reception. For example, when rap started, or when rock and roll began. But with country trap, I in no way want to take credit for that. I believe Young Thug would be one of the biggest pioneers in that.”

Since news of the song’s chart removal went public, Lil Nas X has continued to garner attention and success. “Old Town Road” was the most streamed song on Spotify last week. If he were still part of the country charts, he would have the number one song in the genre.

With the remix of “Old Town Road,” Billboard must now decide whether or not the song is country enough to meet its vague standards. If the company says yes it’s admitting the song needed someone already accepted by the genre to give it a green light. If the company still refuses to admit it, the question of why will hang over the chart system for the foreseeable future.

Whatever the case, the internet will continue supporting Lil Nas X. The release of the remix spawned hundreds of new memes, some of which you can view below:

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.