Not too long ago, Lil Nas X had his song “Old Town Road” on three different Billboard charts at the same time, its Hot 100 list, the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs list and the Hot Country songs list, which is the first time such a thing has been done. But the song was recently removed from the country chart, and some are saying it’s because X is black.
That’s because even though “Old Town Road” has trap drums, it contains some of the same elements of modern-day country music and also references riding horses and living the cowboy lifestyle.
Billboard, however, said it wasn’t country enough, and they told his label Columbia Records they made a mistake by placing it on the country chart.
“Upon further review, it was determined that ‘Old Town Road’ by Lil Nas X does not currently merit inclusion on Billboard‘s country charts,” read a statement published by Rolling Stone.
“When determining genres, a few factors are examined, but first and foremost is 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.”
Billboard also said the decision wasn’t based on race, but an insider who spoke to Rolling Stone said otherwise. “When do we get to the point where [Black artists] can be accepted and played on other formats?” said the source. “That’s still the question.”
On Wednesday, X responded to the news on Instagram and simply wrote “Extremely disappointed,” which is something his Columbia label mate Beyoncé possibly felt too.
Because in 2016 she tried to submit her song “Daddy Lessons” from the “Lemonade” album to the Grammy selection committee to be considered for a country song award. But the cut was rejected, although it heavily pulls from country music sounds and country imagery.
With regard to X, his fans had a lot to say about “Old Town Road” being removed from Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart.
“Racist f–ks,” one person wrote.
“WTF ITS BC YOUR BLACK SMH ” wrote another. “F–K THEM WE ARE YOUR VOICE AND WE WILL PUT YOU BACK UP THERE NO DOUBT! KEEP SPAMMING THE VIDEOS!”