The Billboard charts may not think Lil Nas X’s rap song is country, but Billy Ray Cyrus has endorsed it.
The country singer (and father of singer Miley Cyrus) tweeted a message of support to the Atlanta rapper after Billboard removed his viral hit “Old Town Road” from the country chart last week.
“@LilNasX Been watching everything going on with OTR,” Cyrus tweeted Wednesday. “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!”
The song initially become popular on the TikTok app, where users create and share video clips set to music. It quickly raced up the Apple Music and Spotify charts and debuted simultaneously on Billboard’s cross-genre Hot 100, Hot Country Songs and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs charts.
But last week, Billboard pulled it from the country charts.
“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 to Rolling Stone magazine.
Some accused Billboard of racism, given that the song is by a black artist, but Billboard denied that race had anything to do with their decision.
Lil Nas seemed to believe that, telling Time magazine his song is “country trap” and should be on both charts.
“I believe whenever you’re trying something new, it’s always going to get some kind of bad reception. For example, when rap started, or when rock and roll began,” he told the publication. “But with ‘country trap,’ I in no way want to take credit for that. I believe Young Thug would be one of the biggest pioneers in that.”
Cyrus showed the song love last week, posting on Instagram, “‘Don’t try and think inside the box. Don’t think outside the box. Think like there is no box.’ #HorsesInTheBack.”
In the song, Lil Nas X raps “I got the horses in the back/Horse tack is attached.”
Early Thursday, the rapper shared a story from Rolling Stone magazine about Cyrus appearing on the official remix of “Old Town Road.”
“And he murdered the s***,” Lil Nas X tweeted.