Lil Nas X just got the official country music co-sign of a lifetime after singer Billy Ray Cyrus hopped on his track "Old Town Road."
Last night, both the 19-year-old music newcomer and Cyrus took to their respective social media accounts to reveal the remix of X's "Old Town Road."
X also shared some behind the scenes footage of him and Cyrus coming together in the studio, admitting that he got emotional during the encounter. In the clip, the 57-year-old Cyrus, also father to pop star Miley Cyrus, tells the hopeful teen he is a "light in this world."
"You're a light in this world, man. You're going to shine. People are going to see you from all over the universe."
News of an X and Cyrus collaboration comes just a week after Billboard removed the Soundcloud sensation's track from their Top 100 list. Despite peaking at No. 19 on the Hot Country chart, Billboard pulled the original version of X's track off the list for failing to "embrace enough elements" of the country sound.
"Upon further review, it was determined that ‘Old Town Road’ by Lil Nas X does not currently merit inclusion on Billboard's country charts,” Billboard said in their statement, according to Rolling Stone. “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.”
Not long after X's snub went viral, fans and supporters alike showed their ongoing support of the genre-bending musician, who told Time that he considers his sound to be "Country Trap."
But perhaps the most relevant of co-signs came from '90s country icon Billy Ray Cyrus, who gave a nod of approval to X's musical efforts prior to hopping on the official remix. Cyrus tweeted:
“Been watching everything going on with ‘OTR. When I got thrown off the charts, Waylon Jennings said to me ‘Take this as a compliment’ means you’re doing something great! Only Outlaws are outlawed. Welcome to the club!”
Cyrus' endorsement of X, who originally gained fame from the popular music app "Tik Tok," was met with awe from fans, who then proceeded to ask Billboard if the track was now "Country enough" for their liking, with one fan referencing Nelly's "Country Grammar" debacle back in 2000. Even Miley gave her nod of approval of her father and X's latest musical efforts:
Not so surprisingly, this isn't the first Black artist to receive Black-lash from the country music community. Back in 2016, the Grammys struck down Beyonce's efforts to enlist her track "Daddy Lessons" for nomination in the country music category. Despite performing the Southern-inspired single at the 50th annual Country Music Awards alongside the Dixie Chicks, the Recording Academy's country music committee rejected Bey's consideration for nomination.
After much speculation, a Billboard spokesperson has released a statement to Genius regarding Lil' X's "On the Road," saying that: “Billboard’s decision to take the song off of the country chart had absolutely nothing to do with the race of the artist.”
As of Friday (April 5) afternoon, "Old Town Road," rose to number 15 on the latest Hot 100, and Spotify's Top 5 streams in the U.S.
If you'd like to listen to the full song, check out the link below: