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Lil Nas X reflects on lack of country radio success for "Old Town Road"

21 May 2024, 12:54 | Written by Tyler Damara Kelly

In a recent interview with BBC, Lil Nas X reflects on the past five years since he released his breakout single, "Old Town Road.

After spending 19 weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, the track remains one of the longest running top singles, but despite this, it was removed from the country charts because it did "not embrace enough elements of today's country music to chart in its current form". Even after Billy Ray Cyrus stepped in to provide a remix of the song in order to help it find recognition on the country charts, "Old Town Road" was still shunned. Many people speculated that there was a form of racism in the decision to remove the Black artist's track from inclusion in the country charts.

In the five years since, Beyoncé's "Texas Hold 'Em" caused controversy over its exclusion from her country charts, but after petitions from fans, it made history by topping Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart for ten consecutive weeks, with Beyoncé becoming the first Black woman to top the chart. Following this, Shaboozey's "A Bar Song (Tipsy)" took the top spot on the charts.

Reflecting on how the inclusion of Black artists in the country music charts has changed, Lil Nas X says he's happy for Beyoncé and Shaboozey, but wishes "this would have happened for me. I wasn't even able to experience this," he explained.

When asked if this inspired him to delve back into the genre, he said that he had been "trying out some country [sounds] here and there over the last couple of years", but having experimented with other music styles over the years, he wants "to feel connected to it and not force it".

Lil Nas X's tour documentary Lil Nas X: Long Live Montero is out now.

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