Ask A&C: Is Lil Nas X’s ‘Old Town Road’ country?

Collegian Staff

In recent weeks, rapper, Lil Nas X has seen massive success with his country-trap fusion, “Old Town Road.” However, Billboard recently decided to remove the song from its country charts, though they are reconsidering this decision.

This created a reaction that propelled the already popular single to new heights.

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Henry Netherland

I believe “Old Town Road” should be allowed on the country charts. I’ve heard some arguments saying because of the increased bass prominence and the more complex rhythm structures it ventures more into hip-hop territory. I still feel the basic instrumental and vocal constructs are sufficient enough to be classified as country.

Elena Waldman

Country-trap is relatively new. Young Thug pioneered the genre with his 2017 album, “Beautiful Thugger Girls,” Because it’s still in its formative years, it’s likely we won’t see many rappers on the country charts for a while.

However, the fusion of hip-hop and country music has been happening for a few years now, particularly with artists such as Florida Georgia Line and Jason Aldean. If these artists can take inspiration from hip-hop and still be considered “country” artists, then rappers should be able to do the same. But we aren’t seeing the country artists aforementioned on the rap charts either, so perhaps this is because the country-trap genre hasn’t yet made its way into mainstream music.

I don’t think that “Old Town Road” should be on the country charts. The song itself is clearly a rap song based on the way the song is put together beat wise. The only thing that makes it county is the subject matter.” – Dom Brazeau

Maddie Wright

Here’s the deal. The debate of “country enough” or whatever fights against the idea of the ideal music world I am trying to live in. If there are elements of country in a song, which there were in “Old Town Road,” it can be on the Billboard country chart or on your country playlist. Defining music genres as what is and what isn’t stops this potential for a musically open world I’m trying to live in.

Dom Brazeau

I don’t think that “Old Town Road” should be on the country charts. The song itself is clearly a rap song based on the way the song is put together beat wise. The only thing that makes it county is the subject matter. Many other artists have done similar styles and have not been put on the country chart such as Young Thug’s 2017 album “Beautiful Thugger Girls” which he described as a country album.

“Old Town Road” f*cking slaps. The only reason that Billboard took it off the country charts is because country music can’t handle it.” – Lyra Wiley

Lyra Wiley

“Old Town Road” f*cking slaps. The only reason that Billboard took it off the country charts is because country music can’t handle it. Can’t handle the heat radiating from Billy Ray Cyrus? Get out of the kitchen. I can’t wait to hear this song in Bondi, Australia. It goes hard. But yeah, no. Totally not country music. The only things reminiscent of country music in this song are the horses in the back and Cyrus’ voice.

Joel Thompson

Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” is lyrically and thematically a country song. The only things that would keep it from this category are the fact that Lil Nas X is a rapper and the beat is very rhythmic. I think that the song getting removed from the country charts is absurd.  

The removal only serves to cement the fact that artists get punished for experimenting and exploring different styles within their music. The rap/hip-hop genre is still looked down upon by other genres and is criticized for experimenting with different genres, as is the case with emo rap. I will leave you with a question: If a country star set out to make a rap song with country music influences, would their song get removed by the rap charts? My answer is probably not.

The Arts and Culture desk can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com.