No music story over the last few days has captivated quite like Lil Nas X. The Atlanta country-rap hybrid has memed his way into the zeitgeist, with fans getting behind his “Old Town Road” endeavor in part because it represents the systematic injustices in country music (and in music in general) and in part because it’s infectious as all hell. And once the Billy Ray Cyrus remix dropped ahead of the weekend, a move that could reignite Lil Nas X’s quest for country chart claims, social media turned into a meme factory supporting the rising rapper.
Aside from Cyrus, there hasn’t been a ton of reaction from the artists of the country world, and last night’s ACM Awards provided plenty of opportunities to change that on the red carpet. Speaking to Billboard, acclaimed country stars Brothers Osborne spoke about Lil Nas X, giving a distinct perspective on the subject. When asked what country is to them, T.J. Osborne responded “certainly not that” with regards to Lil Nas X, before explaining that country radio success is a long process that many artists spend years trying to achieve. “Get in line,” T.J. added.
John Osborne then added the following:
“There are tons of girls just waiting for the moment, waiting in line writing great songs, showing up every day in the writing room, sometimes doing two or three or four writes a day, and been in Nashville for over ten years. There is a girl in Nashville right now called Hailey Whitters who’s incredible. Go check her music out, and you’re like, come on, we need to get this girl propped up. And then this dude decides to put out a song with kinda quasi-country lyrics, about movies or some bullsh*t … let’s turn the focus away from that. Don’t create controversy and expect that to give you a hall pass. We need great songs.”
John went on to say, “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, then I will quit. I’m out. I’m done with the genre. I’m done.”
These strong words were not walked back once the interview clip hit social media, with the duo retweeting it and calling it an “honest” response.
It’s unclear if the Cyrus remix will manage to get Lil Nas X back on the country charts, but it’s clear that the song will be very high on the next Hot 100 when it is revealed.