The Yee-Haw Agenda Flourishes: Lil Nas X Adds Country Heavyweight Billy Ray Cyrus to ‘Old Town Road’ Remix

Photo: Courtesy: Apple Music

After Billboard, tapping into a long and cherished tradition of erasing black people from country music, decided Lil Nas X’s hit song, “Old Town Road” wasn’t white country enough to make a home on its country charts, the 19-year-old musician offered a clapback for the ages.

He added Billy Ray Cyrus—a country-ass motherfucker if you were ever to lay eyes on one—to the remix.

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And the consensus on social media thus far? It slaps. But as always, dear reader, you can be the judge of it yourself.

Quite frankly, a man named Billy Ray singing an undeniably country ditty about diamond rings, Fendi sports bras, and Maserati sports cars is the kind of going-into-the-weekend energy I want. I demand. I deserve.

“Old Town Road” became a runaway hit this year, in large part because of the social media platform TikTok. The song became the subject of controversy late last month, though, after Billboard decided to remove it from its country charts.

While the song “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 said in a statement to Rolling Stone. After receiving a (deserved) hailstorm of criticism for the decision from the song’s fans, country artists, and music outlets, a spokesperson later added that the decision to remove “Old Town Road” had “absolutely nothing to do” with Lil Nas X’s race.

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For his part, Lil Nas X has refused to let the song be boxed in by people’s expectations of what country—or trap—ought to sound like.

“It’s not one, it’s not the other,” the Atlanta-based singer and songwriter told Time (h/t Pitchfork). “It’s both. It should be on both [charts].”

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Adding Cyrus—a country music legend—could be a viewed as a savvy GTFOH to Billboard’s criticism that “Old Town Road” didn’t “embrace enough [country] elements” (embrace deez!). Earlier this week, Cyrus threw some support Lil Nas X’s way on Twitter, telling the genre-bending singer that getting thrown off the charts “means you’re doing something great!”

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As fans rallied around the remix, which dropped late Thursday evening, Lil Nas X said he hopes the track would clear the way for a return to the Country Billboard charts.

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While Billboard decides what the hell they’re going to do with this new development, I invite you to hitch up your Fendi sports bra, give the remix a whirl, and enjoy these hilarious OTR-themed memes as you line-dance your way out the saloon door.

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Oh, and if you want just one more hit of the good stuff, here’s a little behind the scenes video of the track being made, courtesy of Lil Nas X’s Instagram.

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About the author

Anne Branigin

Staff writer, The Root. Sometimes I blog slow, sometimes I blog quick. Do you have this in coconut?