Apparently, Billboard Doesn't Think Lil Nas X's Country Hit 'Old Town Road' Has Enough 'Country Elements' for Its Chart

“Old Town Road”
“Old Town Road”
Screenshot: Lil Nas X (YouTube )

Remember that time Beyoncé performed “Daddy Lessons” at the Country Music Awards (CMAs) with the Dixie Chicks (in an extra-loaded and delightfully shady move, given the group’s comments about George W. Bush and their subsequent snubbing) and Cranky Caucausia got in their feelings about it?

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Good times.

Cut to now.

So, there’s this artist named Lil Nas X. Want to see him? Here he go:

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He has a new song called “Old Town Road,” which quickly became a hit, landing on coveted charts such as Billboard’s Hot 100, Hot Country Songs, and Hot R&B/Hip Hop Songs. Additionally, the young artist recently signed to Columbia Records, who described the song as a “country-inspired rap track,” “a country song,” and “a country trap song” in its press release. The song is also listed under the “Country” category on iTunes and Soundcloud.

However, Billboard has decided to remove the song from its charts. Why? It ain’t country enough for them.

Billboard told Rolling Stone in a statement, “upon further review, it was determined that ‘Old Town Road’ by Lil Nas X does not currently merit inclusion on Billboard‘s country charts. When determining genres, a few factors are examined, but first and foremost is musical composition. While ‘Old Town Road’ incorporates references to country and cowboy imagery, it does not embrace enough elements of today’s country music to chart in its current version.”

So, I’m only just into a little bit of country (hey “Jolene”!) and I’d never heard of Lil Nas X until this controversy (I thought his moniker was the product of an “If Nas and Director X Had a Baby” name generator), but I definitely know what a country song sounds like. This sounds country song-ish as fuck.

“Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X / YouTube

Several folks took to social media to express just how bullshit this decision was and we all couldn’t help but notice Lil Nas X’s key feature: he is black-black-bliggety-blackety-black.

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CMA nominee Meghan Linsey said his song had plenty of “country elements,” in fact.

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Lil Nas X, who was clearly disappointed when he heard the news, also joined the convo, perfectly executing the “Too Much Dip In Ya Chip” meme from comedian Kountry Wayne:

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Despite the obvious optics of this whole thing, Billboard assures us this isn’t about his blackness.

“Billboard’s decision to take the song off of the country chart had absolutely nothing to do with the race of the artist,” a Billboard spokesperson told Genius.

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Sure, Jan.

Staff Writer, Entertainment at The Root. Sugar, spice & everything rice. Equipped with the uncanny ability to make a Disney reference and a double entendre in the same sentence.

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While ‘Old Town Road’ incorporates references to country and cowboy imagery, it does not embrace enough elements of today’s country music to chart in its current version.”

This shit right here... When (hip hop parasite) Post Malone is pretending to be a rapper, and he incorporates references and imagery from black culture into his shitty music, they’re all too happy to give him props and throw around terms like “mainstream appeal” and shit. But Lil Nas X makes what pretty much IS a country song and all of a sudden Billboard is like “We don’t fuck with him.”

Come the fuck on Billboard. There’s a whole subgenre of country called “hick hop” based on white people trying to incorporate elements of hip hop into their unseasoned music, and the artists who make this hick hop are definitely considered country.

So basically Billboard is trying to have it both ways. They love it when white people try to blend hip hop and country, but when a black dude does it they don’t even want him on their lousy ass charts. It’s a double standard. FUCK BILLBOARD.