Social Media Rallies Behind Rapper After Billboard Removes His Rising Song From Their Country Music Chart
"Old Town Road" reportedly had the highest debut in the chart's history.
March 29, 2019 at 12:11 am
Billboard removed rapper Lil Nas X's chart-topping song "Old Town Road" from its Hot Country Songs chart, citing it a "mistake" that the song was even considered.
Rolling Stone reports the entertainment media brand that tabulates the musical statistics chart informed Lil Nas X's label, Columbia Records, of the removal, saying its inclusion was an error. Billboard has not publicly announced the elimination but stated in a statement to Rolling Stone that the song "does not currently merit inclusion on Billboard‘s country charts."
"When determining genres, a few factors are examined, but first and foremost its musical composition," the statement continued. "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.”
On March 16, the song made the Hot Country chart as the "highest-ranking debut" at No. 19, indicated by Billboard, following its quick spread online.
Okayplayer reports another statement was released from a Billboard representative, stating the decision was not racially motivated. Still, many are questioning the validity of the removal and the chart's ability to categorize music in such a time when soundscapes are a melting pot.
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The Atlanta rapper has not released an official response to the controversy, but he did share his sentiments Wednesday on Twitter.
"[J]ust because old town road has funny lines doesn’t mean it’s [a] parody," he wrote. "[I]t has a theme. anybody with ears can tell [I] put some kind of effort into that song."
just because old town road has funny lines doesn’t mean it’s parody. it has a theme. anybody with ears can tell i put some kind of effort into that song.
— nope (@LilNasX) March 27, 2019
Social media users have been vocal about their disagreement with the decision, as well. The country-trap song blew up earlier this year via the TikTok app, where users would record their interpretations of the song through video.
Me: Nah I don’t fuck with country music
*Old Town Road comes on*
— Stand Up Guy ???????????? (@BlueStripDee) February 14, 2019
— nope (@LilNasX) March 1, 2019
ᶦ ᵍᵒᵗ ᵗʰᵉ ʰᵒʳˢᵉˢ ᶦⁿ ᵗʰᵉ ᵇᵃᶜᵏ
— Dennis Rodman (@dennisrodman) March 23, 2019
The artist has received an onslaught of support via social media since it was revealed his song was erased from the esteemed chart. Many called out the hypocrisy of the music chart, while others looked at it through a racial lens.
If Lil Nas X can’t be on the billboard country list cause it "it does not embrace enough elements of today's country music" then I want EVERY Post Malone song on the billboard hip hop list taken down immediately
— jalen (@YungJayy_) March 28, 2019
An overlooked part of this Rolling Stone piece about Lil Nas X on the country charts is that Juice WRLD is also being shut out of the rock world, despite fitting the "sound" pretty well. Meanwhile pop songs with trap drums by Bastille & Panic At The Disco get heavy rock rotation? pic.twitter.com/Cx1UGkHgqK
— bfred ???????? (@bfred) March 28, 2019
this lil nas x thing is maybe the most fascinating pop music story in…years and it makes me think about how ray charles isn’t in the country music hall of fame https://t.co/rIxh9AbPSv
— Natalie Weiner (@natalieweiner) March 28, 2019
remember when they wouldnt allow beyoncé in country award categories for daddy lessons despite it having every country music trope from acoustic guitar lead to “yee-haw!” background ad-libs and being about guns?
what if…it’s not about the music at all? lmao https://t.co/j2w7beXecv
— your supreme, dj franzia (@hawillisdc) March 27, 2019
The thing is, if Billboard is gonna push the point, they gotta keep the energy for everyone else making music that's barely country, like the Thomas Rhett single cooling on the same chart right now.
— Craig Bro Dude (@CraigSJ) March 28, 2019
Billboard removed Lil Nas X's "Old Town Road" from country charts & JuiceWorld omitted from the rock charts.. Please notice how they protect their spaces…
— Karen Civil (@KarenCivil) March 28, 2019
As fans, supporters and music critics rally in support of Lil Nas X, it will be interesting to see how this story develops.
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