It’s Country Enough

Lil Nas X´s viral hit ¨Old Town Road

Courtesy of Genius

Lil Nas X´s viral hit ¨Old Town Road" circulates social media

Tiffany Vo, Photojournalist

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19 year old rapper Lil Nas X has become a viral sensation with his song “Old Town Road” after the song became an anthem for the viral #Yeehaw challenge on the social media app Tik Tok. Users would use the hashtag to transform into a cowboy as the song blasts in the background.

 

As “Old Town Road” reached different social media apps like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, more people started to support the black artist and his viral song. Debuting on both the Hot Country Songs Chart and the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs Chart, Lil Nas X categorized his hit as country trap.

 

Despite receiving positive feedback, Billboard suddenly removed Lil Nas X’s song from the Hot Country Songs Chart because it did not “embrace enough elements of today’s country music to chart in its current version.”  Their decision received criticism from online users, claiming the removal was unfair and motivated by Lil Nas X’s race.

 

Moses Sumney, an American singer and songwriter, points out how “discriminatory” the removal was, “considering how hip hop production is appropriated in today’s pop-country.” When white country artists like Florida Georgia Line and Sam Hunt have the ability to incorporate hip hop and rap beats into their songs, and Taylor Swift can top a Country chart with a pop song, why can’t Lil Nas X?

 

 

When interviewed about the controversial incident, Lil Nas X personally believes that his song deserved to chart in both genres.

 

“The song is country trap. It’s not one, it’s not the other. It’s both. It should be on both,” he told Time Magazine.

 

Continuing, he states, “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.”

 

Shane Morris, who onced formerly worked for a large country music label in Nashville, weighed in on the situation. When he read Billboard’s justification for the removal, he could “easily say that the song ‘GIRL’ by Maren Morris doesn’t belong on the Billboard Country charts,” because it is “objectively speaking, a pop song.” He then goes on to list his favorite album last year, Golden Hour by Kacey Musgraves. Although many of her songs charted well on Billboard’s Country chart, “they definitely are pop-leaning, but have enough country elements to be ‘Country’ enough for ‘Country’ people.” The real difference between these artist and Lil Nas X, according to Morris, is that Lil Nas X is a “black man, from Black Hollywood, AKA Atlanta.” By removing “Old Town Road” from the Country chart, the industry continues to shape what “they want country music to sound like, and more importantly… LOOK like,” because “this isn’t about sound. At all.”

 

Ashley Ko (12) emphasizes that “music is music,” and “the people should decide if it’s country enough.”

 

Nevertheless, Lil Nas X was able to get in touch with the country sensation Billy Ray Cyrus to produce a remix version of “Old Town Road,” which debuted at No. 1 on Billboard Hot 100. Billy Ray Cyrus further defends Lil Nas X on Twitter, noting that the song was “honest, humble and has an infectious hook, and a banjo.” “What more do ya need?”

 

 

“When I got thrown off the charts,” Cyrus vocalizes on Twitter, “Waylon Jennings said to me ‘Take this as a compliment’ means you’re doing something great! Only Outlaws are outlawed. Welcome to the club!”

 

So go stream “Old Town Road,” a country rap anthem and the No.1 hit single on Billboard Hot 100.

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