Horses in the back do not a country song make. That's according to Billboard, who made the decision to remove Lil Nas X's viral hit "Old Town Road" from the country charts. The track, which is rife with Western imagery and features twangy string arrangements and vocals, evidently didn't have enough in common with its chart companions to stick to the magazine's country chart.
"Upon further review, it was determined that 'Old Town Road' by Lil Nas X does not currently merit inclusion on Billboard‘s country charts," they told 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."
The argument is a bit more complicated than Beyoncé's "Daddy Lessons," a song that was undeniably country music being snubbed because of the person that made it. "Old Town Road," for all its twang, is still structured like a rap song. Still, fans felt the decision was fishy.
While some fans speculated that the track was removed because Lil Nas X is black, Billboard told Genius that this didn't factor into the decision to remove it.
“Billboard’s decision to take the song off of the country chart had absolutely nothing to do with the race of the artist,” a spokesperson said.
Lil Nas X, who had been sharing every new development in the single's chart rise, was disappointed by the decision.