Back in December, Atlanta rapper Lil Nas X released a song called 'Old Town Road'. Boosted by the YouTube video above which features videos from the extremely popular video game Red Dead Redemption 2, the song has surpassed 9.8 million video views and over 27 million streams. 'Old Town Road' features a sample of Nine Inch Nails' 2008 song '34 Ghosts IV' and debuted on the Hot 100 chart at number 83 last week. It rose to number 51 for the week ending March 23rd. The song even hit Hot Country Songs, coming in at No. 19 before dropping off this week. Lil Nas X ended up signing with Columbia Records last week as well.
Today we found out that Billboard has decided to remove the song that combined hip-hop and banjo elements with references to wearing cowboy hates and riding horses. Billboard did not make a formal announcement about the removal of the song, but it released a statement to Rolling Stone saying “upon further review, it was determined that ‘Old Town Road’ by Lil Nas X does not currently merit inclusion onBillboard‘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 it's current version."
Since people have learned about the song's removal, many have pushed that there were racial components that played a role. Industry experts have responded by saying that Lil Nas X was able to manipulate his situation by releasing the tune as a "country single" in hopes that it would perform better there than it would in a very crowded and challenging rap and hip hop market.The music industry is much different than years past, because songs have the ability to go viral before labels, radio stations and programmers can sort out the particulars regarding genre and distribution. Years ago, labels would have worked WITH radio stations in hopes to have the next big hit, where in this case radio programmers were scrambling to catch up with a song that had already blown up online in the weeks prior. Interestingly enough, the song has been spun on 6 different formats to date. There is a really detailed explanation about the song and the whole situation surrounding it HERE.
I think this song is a BANGER either way, but I gotta ask what you think. Is this a country song? Or is it a rap song littered with country references?