Thanks to TikTok – as well as a slight nudge from Justin Bieber – Lil Nas X’s ‘Old Town Road’ became an overnight sensation last month.
The popular hybrid hip-hop/country song soon debuted on several Billboard charts, including the famed Hot Country Songs.
There was just one problem, though.
According to Billboard, the song didn’t qualify as a legitimate ‘country’ song. Thus, the entertainment media brand swiftly – and quietly – removed the song from the charts, causing a major stir across the music industry.
“While ‘Old Town Road’ incorporates references to country and cowboy imagery, it doesn’t embrace enough elements of today’s country music to chart in its current version.”
Following its decision, Billboard remained quiet as fans, executives, and stars weighed in. ‘Old Town Road’ represents a constantly-changing musical landscape, blurring the lines between genres. The entertainment media brand remained firm in its antiquated position, however, refusing to further comment on its controversial decision.
Now, a new remix with a country music legend has climbed the charts once more, even breaking a record once held by Drake.
Making a comeback with a bang.
Stepping into the controversy, Billy Ray Cyrus lambasted Billboard for de-listing Lil Nas X’s hit single.
On Twitter, he welcomed the 19-year-old rapper into the ‘country’ family.
“@LilNasX Been watching everything going on with OTR. When I got thrown off the charts, Waylon Jennings said to me, ‘Take this as a compliment,” [which] means you’re doing something great!
“Only Outlaws are outlawed. Welcome to the club!'”
Despite Billboard’s opposition, Lil Nas X’s ‘Old Town Road’ featuring Billy Ray Cyrus has remained atop the Hot 100 for two straight weeks.
For the week ending April 11th, the track has led the streaming charts with 143 million streams in the U.S. alone, according to figures from Nielsen. Drake previously held the record for the most streams for ‘In My Feelings,’ drawing in 116.2 million streams for the week ending July 28th, 2018.
This time, Billboard decided to count both Lil Nas X’s original song as well as the remix.
In addition, digital sales for ‘Old Town Road’ jumped 454% to 124,000 downloads for the week ending April 11th. The song topped Billboard’s ‘Digital Song Sales’ chart for the first time. ‘Old Town Road’ nearly beat out Drake’s ‘God’s Plan’ for most downloads in a week. The Canadian rapper’s single debuted with 127,000 downloads for the week ending February 3rd, 2018.
The remix also marks the first time Billy Ray Cyrus scored his first No. 1 on the Hot 100. He previously peaked at No. 4 with ‘Achy Breaky Heart’ in July of 1992.