lil nas x old town road remix

Lil Nas X/YouTube

TikTok favorite Lil Nas X ropes in Billy Ray Cyrus for ‘Old Town Road’ remix

Lil Nas X's hit song was kicked off the country charts. He found a clever way back.

Apr 5, 2019, 11:27 am

Internet Culture

Audra Schroeder 

Audra Schroeder

TikTok helped elevate Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” earlier this year with a transformative cowboy challenge—often called the Yee Yee Juice or YeeHaw challenge—and now it has transformed even further.

Lil Nas X just debuted the remix of “Old Town Road” featuring Billy Ray Cyrus, a collaboration so left-field that it makes perfect sense. The country music world hasn’t known quite how to categorize Lil Nas X, and Cyrus cited his own experience with the fickle charts in a tweet this week.

Lil Nas X tweeted back in December, when the song was released, about getting Cyrus on the song.

The TikTok challenge that helped “Old Town Road” go viral is somewhat tied into the yeehaw agenda, a social media movement that highlights the deep roots between Black culture and cowboy culture, which have largely been erased in popular country music. That was illustrated in real time when Billboard removed “Old Town Road” from its Hot Country Songs chart last month. A representative told Rolling Stone that while the song “incorporates references to country and cowboy imagery, it does not embrace enough elements of today’s country music to chart in its current version.”

On social media, the subtext of the statement was clearer: the “elements” missing were whiteness. With that framing, the remix is a clever way back to the charts. Or, perhaps, a middle finger to the industry. Or both.

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*First Published: Apr 5, 2019, 11:27 am