Lil Nas X hit 'Old Town Road' pulled from Billboard country chart, sparking outcry

“Old Town Road,” a viral hit from rapper Lil Nas X, has been removed from Billboard’s Hot Country chart because it supposedly isn’t “country enough.”

The song, a rap/country crossover that juxtaposes Western and cowboy-themed imagery to a trap beat, debuted at No. 19 on Billboard’s Hot Country chart just three weeks ago.

"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 a statement. "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."

"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."

— Billboard statement

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“Old Town Road” remains on rap/hip hop charts and reached 32 on the all-genre Hot 100 chart. The music video on YouTube features clips from the videogame "Red Dead Redemption 2," and has received more than 15 million views, with 426,000 likes.

Shortly after the song was dropped, the rapper posted a headline of the news on his Instagram page, writing: "extremely disappointed," along with a "sadface" emoji.

Critics suggested that the rapper, who is black, was singled out because of his race and pointed out that crossover songs are routinely included on country charts.

Billboard fired back, stating that its decision to take the song off of the country chart "had absolutely nothing to do with the race of the artist.”

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Lil Nas X was recently signed to Columbia Records.

The song has spawned dance videos and received a shout-out on social media from Justin Bieber. Texas Tech's basketball team posted a video of the team dancing to the song in the locker room and country singer Jake Owen tweeted at the rapper, saying he wanted to jam with him.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.