Billy Ray Cyrus Joins Lil Nas X for ‘Old Town Road’ Remix [LISTEN]
In late March, Lil Nas X's "Old Town Road" was removed from consideration for Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart, causing an online uproar over whether or not the song is "country," and if race played a factor in Billboard's decision. Now, country stalwart Billy Ray Cyrus is throwing his weight behind the song, contributing a verse to a new remix of "Old Town Road."
Readers can press play above to hear Lil Nas X and Cyrus' "Old Town Road" remix, which features an added verse sung by Cyrus. In a press release, the country singer says he loved the song the first time he heard it, and that he's "honored" to work with the Atlanta-based rapper and singer.
“Country music fans decide what they like. Not critics or anyone else ...," adds Cyrus. "Country music fans don’t need to be defined by critics."
Cyrus first championed "Old Town Road" on social media: "'Don't try and think inside the box. Don't try and think outside the box. Think like there is no box.' #HorsesInTheBack," he tweeted on March 27, referencing the lyrics of Lil Nas X's song. Subsequently, Cyrus posted more thoughts on the song, pointing out that, for many of country's most venerated outlaws, not being on the charts was virtually a rite of passage.
When Lil Nas X dropped "Old Town Road," he categorized it as a country song, and it debuted at No. 19 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart dated March 16. When the media organization removed the song from country chart consideration, it explained that "Old Town Road" simply shouldn't have been on a country chart to begin with, saying that it lacked the sonic elements of a country song.
However, as more and more country artists have begun to experiment with genre crossover and stylistic experimentation, it has become more difficult to define what, exactly, the sonic elements of a country song are. Many on social media have suggested that Billboard's exclusion of "Old Town Road" has more to do with the race of the artist than it has to do with the sound of the song, which Billboard denies in a statement.