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Ousted Hip-Hop Country Single Tops Billboard Charts

When newcomer Lil Nas X was told his viral single was being removed from a Billboard chart, that might’ve looked like the end of his run of success. As it turns out, it was just the beginning.

“Old Town Road (I Got Horses in the Back),” is in many ways a country record. Its subject matter (riding horses) and slight vocal drawl are evocative of new country stylings. The official YouTube video consists entirely of footage from a popular video game set in a sprawling epic Western adventure.

Nevertheless, it still has a distinct hip-hop influence. Thus, after complaints from several unnamed Nashville country music gatekeepers, Billboard announced in a statement that “Old Town Road” was removed from the country music charts:

Upon further review, it was determined that “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X does not currently merit inclusion on Billboard's country charts. When determining genres, a few factors are examined, but first 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.

The subsequent fan outcry produced allegations of racism. Several industry analysts compared “Old Town Road” to country-chart-topping crossover pop singles with hip-hop influences from megastar artists like Taylor Swift.

But Lil Nas X has since gotten the last laugh. The controversy subsequently rocketed “Old Town Road” to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and spawned a remix collaboration with Billy Ray Cyrus of “Achy Breaky Heart” fame … which also charted on the Billboard country charts.

Potential Preaching Angle: When the truth is on your side you have nothing to worry about. Even opposition can work out in your favor if you trust God and lean into God's purposes.

Lisa Respers, “Lil Nas X's 'Old Town Road' hits No. 1,” CNN.Com (4-9-19)

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