If all you have to prove country music’s intrinsic racism that is regularly cited in conversations and articles is the Lil Nas X anecdote, or the Beyoncé anecdote, or the Morgan Wallen story, then you really don’t have any proof at all.
Old Town Road
As easily predicted, Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus won the 2019 CMA Award for Musical Event of the Year for their collaboration on the genre-bending summer smash “Old Town Road.” In a strange plot twist to “Old Town Road” winning a CMA Award, so does industrial artist Trent Reznor. He now has a CMA Awards, while many country legends don’t.
“It’s definitely not a country record,” Sturgill Simpson told Sarah Silverman point blank back in November of 2018 about the new album. The “definitely” underscores that there’s no wiggle room in that interpretation. So the question is, why is Sound & Fury on the Billboard country charts?
Kane Brown is not happy about getting snubbed by the CMAs, again. And as he’s did last year, he took to Twitter on Wednesday (8-28) after the CMA nominations were revealed to show his disdain, posting a GIF of Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry shaking his head in disappointment. Now he’s deleted his Twitter account.
None of this is real ladies and gentlemen. From the fake controversies, to the gaming of the meme culture and social media to make 30-second snippets somehow compete with actual songs on charts, to the paying for streams to create false positives on breakout hits, the malfeasance in the monogenre space with country music as the heel…
Once again a major periodical has presented a completely false timeline for the removal of Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” from the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart in an attempt to pin the inspiration for the removal on Saving Country Music. The ‘Bitter Southerner’ article written by Dr. Joycelyn Wilson, PhD published on June 13th….
On Sunday night (6-9), legendary hip-hop outfit The Wu-Tang Clan made a stop at the Ryman Auditorium as part of their 25th Anniversary tour for a sold-out performance. Known affectionately as the “Mother Church of Country Music,” the booking of Wu-Tang at the Ryman might have seemed a little weird to some.
Adopting the sounds and modes of pop and hip-hop might make country music cool to some, but the genre’s most existential threat is not dying because nobody wants to listen to it, it’s going extinct as an art form because nobody can distinguishing it from anything else.
So if anyone was wondering if Billy Ray Cyrus was the secret ingredient to Lil Nas X’s success, or if signing up with the young man would result in a resurgence in Billy Ray’s career, you have your answer. And the sad part is that ‘The Snakedoctor Circus’ is not a particularly bad album at all.
It’s now been over five weeks since Saving Country Music exposed numerous incidents of outright false reporting by multiple major news outlets when it came to the removal of Lil Nas X’s song “Old Town Road” from the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, including from the supposed “newspaper of record” in America.
As the alternative to the bigger, two-weekend all-genre gathering called Coachella, The Stagecoach Festival in Indio, California every April is supposed to give country music its turn on the famous Empire Polo Club grounds so as not be shaded out by the massive names of the pop, EDM, and hip-hop world.
“Yeah, it’s pretty catchy,” Luke Combs says. “But I feel there’s a little bit of sarcasm there I don’t necessarily appreciate. I feel like I’m being poked fun at a bit. Country music is near and dear to my heart, and one of the things that’s most important to me is that the music should be taken seriously.”
“Old Town Road” is now the #1 song in all of music. However it wasn’t just the infectiousness of the track that got it there. It was also due to indisputably incorrect and biased reporting by major media outlets, from legacy music magazines such as Rolling Stone, all the way up to NPR and The New York Times.
“This dude puts out a song with kind of quasi country lyrics? Something about a horse, boobies and some shit? Don’t create controversy and expect that to give you a hall pass. We need great songs. Go listen to Kris Kristofferson, and then go listen to that song, and if you tell me they have anything to do with each other.”
Out of all the mischaracertizations, malfeasance, hidden agendas, outright lies, and sheer ignorance behind Lil Nas X’s viral hit “Old Town Road” and its disputed place in the country genre, perhaps the most idiotic and out-of-touch development of them all has been this ludicrous notion that Billy Ray Cyrus is in any way relevant to country music.
See, this is the reason why showing concern of where and how songs are placed in music charts is so critical, and how making a simple mistake can cause dramatic reverberations throughout the music ecosystem where now you have long-standing institutions and entire genres of music being accused of outright racism.
The debate about what is country music and what isn’t is an eternal one. But a 1:53-long viral “song” that is really nothing more than an internet meme entitled “Old Town Road” by rapper “Lil Nas X” has rekindled the debate anew, with critical implications behind it.