Lil Nas X scored a crossover country hit when his cowboy-themed rap song “Old Town Road,” debuted at #19 on the Billboard country chart. The Billboard decided to pull the song from a country chart after determining it wasn’t a good fit for the genre.
In a statement to Rolling Stone, a rep for Billboard said:
“Upon further review, it was determined that ‘Old Town Road’ by Lil Nas X does not currently merit inclusion on Billboard‘s country charts. 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.”
In a separate statement to Genius, Billboard noted that the decision to remove the track from the country chart “had absolutely nothing to do with the race of the artist.”
Lil Nas X released the track in late December and it quickly gained traction via the social networking service Tik Tok. The track has 15.58 million streams on YouTube.
After news broke that Billboard had delisted the track from their country chart, Lil Nas X took to Instagram to state that he was “extremely disappointed” by the decision.