A 19-year-old rapper who goes by the name Lil Nas X scored a viral hit with a country rap song entitled "Old Town Road" with a video game graphic to top off his concept. The song was even endorsed by Justin Bieber on Instagram to his millions of followers. (Mr. Hailey Baldwin is right, the song slaps.) This is the rapper's only official single which because of its nontraditional release, radio stations had to rip the audio from YouTube in order to broadcast it and the song became even more popular on the TikTok app.
This led to "Old Town Road" entering both the Billboard Country and Hip-Hop charts separately. That was until a few days ago when Billboard quietly informed Lil Nas X and his label that the song would be removed from the country charts because it's apparently not country enough, but could stay on the hip-hop/rap charts. Billboard's statement was that though the song made many references to county music, that was not sufficient and did not have elements of country music but Billboard initially said that including his track was a mistake. Many have compared the removal to when Beyonce's "Daddy Lessons" was not considered to be eligible for a country single category at the Grammys because both artists are black and both songs sound arguably like country songs. The removal begs the questions: in an art form that is so vast with ever-evolving genres that can crossover frequently, how does one make a stringent definition and who are the authorities to even make that distinction if the artist can't make them?
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The controversy has actually propelled the song to hit number the top ten on Spotify and iTunes. YEEEEEEEEEEEEHAAAAAAAAAAAWWWWWWWWWWWW!