Old Town Road by Lil Nas X: Is it Really Not Country?

By Ellie Riser

With new hybrid genres and fresh sounds coming from artists such as BROCKHAMPTON and Tyler, The Creator, audiences all over the United States and the world are now being forced to examine what it means to be strictly a “rap” or “country” fan. As we are seeing more and more songs pushing these boundaries, the biggest music industries have begun to make some questionable calls.

The hit single, “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X took the world by storm in early 2019. Released on December 3, 2018, and later uploaded as a sound to the popular app TikTok (formally known as Musical.ly) this country rap hybrid was a mystery smash and very quickly landed a spot on the coveted “Billboard Hot 100 List”. I am sure many of you have listened to it already, the signature banjo riff, classic country storyline in the lyrics with a modern twist, and just the raw country tone and dialect used by Lil Nas X, otherwise known as Montero Hill, clearly shows more than just a trap song with a sprinkle of country. Once again it snagged a place on a billboard list but this time on the “Top Country Songs Chart”. It seemed that that was all nice and good but controversy arose when the widely popular bop was suddenly booted off the country list.

Soon after people realized that the smash had been removed, much of the public including Lil Nas himself began to question why on earth Billboard would need to remove such a legendary song. While many fans took to social media to slam the decisions the billion-dollar company made, Lil Nas was cooking up a plan of his own. Just days after he had been kicked off the country chart, he decided to call up the country legend Billy Ray Cyrus. The two quickly established the idea of a remix and hit the studio to lay down a couple new tracks. On April 5th, the “Old Town Road-Remix” with Billy Ray Cyrus was born. Once again people began to listen to the song on repeat, but this time with more meaning. Now people began to blast this tune to prove that Billboard had not only made a mistake but that people always have the power. Whether you see this song as a joke, a slap, or an opportunity to talk about how music divides us on a racial level, we should all take a moment to see how this turn of events highlights the changes happening in the music industry and if you are doing anything to advance or hinder this musical revolution.

 

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