Atlanta has been known for housing some of the most influential artists in the hip-hop industry, and now in country music. After garnering massive support from the online community with many renditions to the catchy tune, Lil Nas X’s country-trap hit “Old Town Road” has silently been removed from Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart, as reported.
TikTok saw it first, as it relates to the genre-defying measures administered through a thunderous 808 infused with a modern-day Western-influenced art of storytelling.
The Columbia Records artist has even garnered the attention of Pop sensation Justin Bieber, who took to Instagram with a post captioned “This shit bangs,” in acknowledgement of hearing the new track.
Apparently, there’s a fine line between inclusiveness for music and Lil Nas X must have crossed it. There are several contributing factors that aid in determining genres for songs, with musical composition weighing most heavily. Yes, ‘Old Town Road’ does meet the criteria with cowboy innuendos and country imagery, but it appears as though the song does not incorporate enough elements of today’s country music to chart.
At this present time, Lil Nas X has decided to not directly comment on Billboard’s antics.
By enabling music to define art on the sole premise of a “traditional” rationalization or mindset, further implicates a racial connotation behind it.
Prime example, Billboard’s R&B chart was once titled “race music”, let that sink in.
However, due to the advancement of technology and the digital age, an artist can have a viral sensation before the track has an opportunity to become “classified” by the apparent industry gatekeepers.
It’s never a fun game when the race card gets pulled, but when black artists are hindered from tapping into a predominantly white genre one can only infer what rationale follows.
Coincidentally enough, history does repeat itself.
In 2016, Beyoncé (who also records for Columbia Records) reportedly attempted to submit the Lemonade referenced track ‘Daddy Lessons’ to the Grammy committee that oversees the country music submissions, and she too got the Lil Nas X treatment.
Hopefully, this trend dies out and the industry-imposed limitations do not resurface.
Give the track a listen below.