Here’s Why Fans Are Super Divided Over Lil Nas X’s Latest Comments About The Success Of Beyoncé’s “Cowboy Carter”

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Lil Nas X is looking back on the release of his hit country song “Old Town Road” in 2019.

Lil Nas X wearing a embellished suit with an intricate beaded pattern as he attends an event with photographers in the background
Aliah Anderson / Getty Images

As you may recall, “Old Town Road” wound up at the center of controversy when it was released after it was excluded from the US country music charts.

Lil Nas X performs on stage, wearing a sparkling, high-neck cloak-style outfit
Rich Fury / Getty Images for The Recording Academy

Perhaps most memorably, Billboard removed the track from its Hot Country Songs charts, reportedly telling Lil Nas X that they’d featured it on the list by “mistake.”

Lil Nas X performs on stage wearing a cowboy hat and a leather outfit with flame designs
Taylor Hill / Getty Images for Boston Calling

Issuing a statement, Billboard wrote, “When determining genres, a few factors are examined, but first and foremost 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 move left fans and some celebrities accusing Billboard of “discrimination,” suggesting that Lil Nas — who had described the song as “country trap” — was being excluded because of his race.

Lil Nas eventually went on to feature prominent country artist Billy Ray Cyrus on the remix of “Old Town Road,” after which the revised version of the song spent a record-breaking 19 weeks on top of the Billboard Hot 100 charts. The duo later won the award for musical event of the year at the Country Music Association Awards, as well as two Grammy Awards.

Fast-forward to this year, and the controversial treatment of “Old Town Road” has received renewed discourse amid the release of Beyoncé’s country album Cowboy Carter in March.

Beyoncé wearing a leather jacket with gold embellishments, holding a a trophy while tipping her cowboy hat during an award ceremony speech
Kevin Mazur / Getty Images for iHeartRadio

Much like Lil Nas’s song, Beyoncé’s latest album has sparked a mixed response from listeners, with several people refusing to label her music as “country.” A month before its release, Variety sparked backlash after tweeting that Beyoncé’s new songs had “country influences” — even though Beyoncé is a Houston-born artist who has delved into the country genre before with her 2016 hit “Daddy Lessons.”

Closeup of Beyoncé
Kevin Mazur / Getty Images for The Recording Academy

Moreover, country radio station KYKC initially refused to play Beyoncé’s country music, while artist Lily Allen publicly called Beyoncé’s release of country songs “weird” and “calculated.”

Despite this, Cowboy Carter has achieved immense success, with the song “Texas Hold ‘Em” spending 10 weeks at the top of Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart, making Beyoncé the first Black woman to top the chart.

Beyoncé poses on the red carpet in a glamorous, gold embellished dress with structured, metallic shoulder details
Mason Poole / Getty Images for Atlantis The Royal

Reflecting on this in a new interview, Lil Nas X said that he’s “happy” for Beyoncé, though wishes that he was able to “experience” the same success.

Lil Nas X is performing on stage, wearing a tank top, a fur coat draped over his shoulder, and patchwork jeans
Theo Wargo / Getty Images for Coachella

“I wish this would have happened for me. I wasn't even able to experience this,” he said.

Closeup of Lil Nas X
Leon Bennett / WireImage,,,

Lil Nas’s remarks have since sparked a pretty mixed response online, with several X users immediately mentioning the huge success of “Old Town Road.”

Lil' Nas X at a red carpet event, wearing a neon suit with a zebra print turtleneck and a dangling earring
Jeff Kravitz / FilmMagic for dcp

“Old Town Road reached some unattainable heights. What is he talking about?” one person tweeted. “Old town road is literally one of the most successful songs in the history of music…and you decided to move from that sound,” another user wrote.

However, others pointed out that “Old Town Road” was still blocked from the Billboard country charts, and was only received more positively as "country" worldwide once Billy Ray featured on the remix.

Lil Nas X in a boldly patterned suit and cowboy hat poses with Billy Ray Cyrus in a leather jacket and wide-brim hat at the BET Awards
Rodin Eckenroth / WireImage

“i believe he’s speaking about being removed from the country genre. his country song was removed from Billboard country charts for not being ‘country enough,’” one person tweeted.

“He’s not wrong. Country radio refused to play Old Town Road, and they wouldn’t allow it to be placed on the country charts,” someone else wrote. “The same thing they did to Beyoncé with Daddy Lessons they did to Lil Nas X. Again showing why Cowboy Carter is so important.”

“Old Town Road WAS successful. However, what Lil Nas X is referencing is how he was meant to chart to number 19 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart before the magazine disqualified it from the chart on the grounds that he & OTR wasn’t country. They wouldn’t specify beyond that… Old Town Road was never allowed to qualify for any country awards either, including country song of the year,” another user wrote.

“He’s allowed to share his disappointment it took this long, especially when one of the biggest hits that happened to be his, was left out,” they added.

More on this