Infectious country-rap hit tops U.S. charts and sparks race debate

Joann Johnston
April 11, 2019

Lil Nas X then brings in his modern-trap sound, whilst maintaining the signature country drawl.

Though Lil Nas X was already active on Twitter, it's no surprise to many that he has been especially active since his new fame. While one station in Madison, Wisc., did play "Old Town Road" 14 times at various times throughout the days, no other station played the song more than five times. It was charting on Billboard's country music charts until Billboard took it off, suggesting that it wasn't country enough. I've seen some people on the internet claim it's because "Old Town Road" is supposed to be a parody of country songs.

"Upon further review, it was determined that "Old Town Road" by Lil Nas X does not now merit inclusion on Billboard's country charts", Billboard said in a statement to Rolling Stone last week.

Meanwhile, Billy Ray Cyrus has joined the Atlanta-based rapper for a remix of the viral hit, and Jake Owen has announced plans to collaborate with him.

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All the same, Lil Nas X now described the record as "country trap", explaining that "it's not one, it's not the other". The cover of the original track had a black horse on a white background, and the cover of the remix has another horse symbolizing Billy Ray Cyrus.

After that, it was time for the legend to shine. The vocal performances, even those by Lil Nas X, are far closer to the sort you would hear in a country song than a rap one.

To my ears, "Old Town Road" is just as country as it is rap. Lil Nas X left a cryptic message on Instagram where he wrote, "Ready to tell them @beyonce".

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