Billy Ray Cyrus Joins Lil Nas X on 'Old Town Road' Remix After Billboard Claims Song Isn't Country, Fans React

Billy Ray Cyrus Joins Lil Nas X on 'Old Town Road' Remix After Billboard Claims Song Isn't Country, Fans React
Billy Ray Cyrus attends the Celebrity Fight Night's Founders Club Dinner on March 9, 2018, in Phoenix, Arizona. Cyrus joins Lil Nas X for "Old Town Road" remix. Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

It was merely a week ago when Billboard pulled Lil Nas X's hit single "Old Town Road" from the country music charts, which it had been steadily climbing.

No matter the song was listed on Lil Nas X's Soundcloud and iTunes as a country bop and overtly featured country overtones, and it made no difference that the song was placed on six different radio formats. Billboard still yanked "Old Town Road," which made it all the way up to the No. 32 spot, from the country charts.

So a country music godfather stepped in to give "Old Town Road" the ultimate seal of country music approval—Billy Ray Cyrus.

The country singer lent his famous raspy voice and guitar strings to the song's remix, released on Friday. Although Cyrus notes he's now riding down Rodeo in his Maserati sports car, he's still the same old cowboy—much like Lil Nas X—with his horses in the back.

The collaboration was an instant hit with fans, who took to social media immediately after the song's release to share their thoughts about the remix. Of course, there were references made on Billboard's lack of approval, and some people noted Cyrus' stamp on the song superseded the company's.

Cyrus appeared to be a fan of the song from the beginning. After Billboard removed the song from the country charts, the "Achy Breaky Heart" singer defended Lil Nas X in an Instagram post. "Don't try and think inside the box. Don't think outside the box. Think like there is no box. #HorsesInTheBack."

He later recalled his own experiences being removed from the charts and shared Chart Data's Instagram post, which claimed the song would have likely topped the chart if it had not been removed. "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 outlowed. Welcome to the club," Cyrus wrote.

Then Cyrus shared a video of himself playing the guitar in a studio while Lil Nas X danced in the background on Thursday, announcing he had teamed up with the young artist. "Old Town Road…. The remix out now!" he wrote.

In a statement to Rolling Stone, the music-charting publication said the song was removed from the country list specifically due to the lack of "elements of today's country music." The decision was likely influenced by Lil Nas X's twangy rap lyrics laced over trap beats, despite the very obvious banjo strings and country nuances flooding the track.

"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 on March 26.

The decision sparked instant outrage among Lil Nas X fans and people who generally enjoyed the trapped-out honky-tonk track and believed it captured the vibe and spirit of country music.

Released in December, "Old Town Road" became an Internet sensation thanks to the app TikTok, where boatloads of people shared clips of themselves dancing to the song. As of this week, the song landed at No. 15 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart and placed on Spotify's Top 5 in the U.S., Rolling Stone reported. It's the only song featured on the list that is not by singer Billie Ellish. It's also been placed on rotation at 39 radio stations across the country, according to Nielsen BDS.

Now that Cyrus has joined Lil Nas X on the track, fans appear to be even more taken with the song. See a few reactions below.