Fans of US musician Lil Nas X have hit out as Billboard, after his song ‘Old Town Road’ was removed from the Hot Country Songs chart this week.
If you’ve heard of Georgia musician Lil Nas X, it’s likely due to his viral hit ‘Old Town Road’, which has scored over 14 million views on YouTube since its December premiere.
An intriguing mix of country music and hip-hop, the tune uses lyrics that discuss cowboys and horse riding, while its bass-laden beats and backed with samples of banjo music.
Undoubtedly, categorising the song has been a hard task, but regardless, the song’s viral success was enough to see it hit #19 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart for the week of March 16th.
However, if you were hoping to see where ‘Old Town Road’ ended up this week, you’re in for quite a search.
As Rolling Stone reports, Billboard have raised a few eyebrows after their decision to remove the tune from the Hot Country Songs chart for this week.
While Billboard did not publicly announce the song’s removal, they did however tell Lil Nas X’s label, Columbia Records, that his inclusion in the chart was a “mistake”.
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“Upon further review, it was determined that ‘Old Town Road’ by Lil Nas X does not currently merit inclusion on Billboard‘s country charts,” a spokesperson for Billboard explained to Rolling Stone.
“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 its current version.”
In other words, Billboard said it’s too black.
— (@TiaOutsold) March 26, 2019
Just missing a red solo cup reference and something about mud on the tires.
— Kyle Møsher (@thekylemosher) March 27, 2019
Is @LilNasX “Old Town Road” a country song???
— Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 (@JoseForADay) March 26, 2019
lets keep it real its because he is black
— HARPER SZN (@aquil_stephens) March 27, 2019
No because it has a loud ass 808 and is clearly hiphop. That shit slaps but it ain’t country just because he sings about horses thats like a country singer singing about doing lean and bussing out the bando and charts in the hiphop category
— man_like_solo (@solojv) March 27, 2019
Understandably, many fans of Lil Nas X and his song have taken to Twitter to criticise this decision.
While Lil Nas X simply responded to the news with nothing more than a ‘sad’ emoji, others have inferred it is likely due to his race, noting that both his lyrics and delivery and far more ‘country’ than other songs on the chart.
One Twitter user attempted to explain Billboard’s decision, noting that the lyrics and instrumentation alone doesn’t make it a country song.
“That shit slaps but it ain’t country,” explained Twitter user man_like_solo. “Just because he sings about horses thats like a country singer singing about doing lean and bussing out the bando [sic] and charts in the hiphop category.”
At this stage, neither Lil Nas X or Billboard have commented further on the song’s removal from the chart.