By now, I’m sure you’ve heard about Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road,” a rap song that’s become the talk of the town in the country music world.
At less than 2 minutes long and set to scenes from the popular video game “Red Dead Redemption,” the viral hit exploded on the app TikTok, has been the subject of numerous memes and even landed itself a ringing endorsement from none other than Justin Bieber.
Lil Nas X and his team strategically listed the song as a “country” song on iTunes and SoundCloud, causing the song to chart on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, before Billboard subsequently removed the track, deeming in an improper fit for the country music charts.
Because it isn’t a country song…
Now, many are crying foul and citing racism as the reason it was removed. Billboard says that’s not the case. It’s a pretty mind-numbing conversation that I don’t even want to get into, but what I do want to talk about is who is actually doing the most harm to country music?
“Old Town Road” is actually catchy. Sure, it’s a complete gimmick designed to be the viral sensation that it is, purposely hitching a ride on the country charts to catapult itself into the spotlight. But, that’s the meme culture we’re living in. It is, and will continue be, fun for a few weeks and then it’ll disappear.
What won’t disappear are performances like the monstrosity below, another example of something that doesn’t have any business being anywhere near country music. “Swerve” is by far the worst “country” song I’ve ever heard in my entire life, and yes, for the sake of this conversation, worse than “Old Town Road.” So at the end of the day, neither of these songs are country, but one is a joke and one isn’t. One is from an artist that briefly gamed the chart system, another is from an artist that spent all of last year gaming all of country music. Is racism at play here, probably not. Is the destruction of country music at play here? Probably, but it’s not coming from Lil Nas X.
“Meant To Be” is breaking George Strait records, women can’t even get a fucking song on country radio, and now, we have a viral rap song invading the charts and then causing a firestorm when it’s subsequently thrown off for being a viral rap song… what a fucking mess.