Lil Nas X has gone through a number of hoops in recent weeks regarding his breakout single "Old Town Road" and its yee-hawthenticity to its country sound. The tune's composed with all of the modern trappings of a country record in 2019, save for the fact that there's some trunk-rattling bass backing up the horse references.
While it's been a divisive road of acceptance — Billboard removed it from its country chart last month — there's one person who does get it: Billy Ray Cyrus. The legendary country singer gets it so much, in fact, that he's appeared on the song's official remix. And it makes for a rootin', tootin' good time, one anchored by Cyrus's absurdly energetic vocals.
What makes country music? Is it rural accents and cowboy imagery? Is it the long, drawn-out feeling of the sun slowly folding into the sky that its music regularly brings? "Old Town Road" had these things but was still removed by Billboard after hitting number 19 on the Hot Country chart. "When determining genres, a few factors are examined, but first and foremost is musical composition," Billboard's statement said. "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."
Cyrus was one of the first country stars to embrace Lil Nas X following his chart removal. "When I got thrown off the charts, Waylon Jennings said to me 'Take this as a compliment' means you're doing something great!" the singer — whose 1992 hit "Achy Breaky Heart" topped the same chart and also hit No. 4 on the Hot 100 — tweeted. "Only Outlaws are outlawed. Welcome to the club!" The country legend (and father of Miley) then extended his hand by appearing on the remix.
And what an appearance it is. Cyrus's grandiose voice is light and clashes with the foreboding production that blends elements of trap and the country genre that Lil Nas X is a part of. Cyrus takes control of the chorus with a lively chant of, "Yeah, I'm gonna take my horse to the old town road / I'm gonna ride 'til I can't no more." He then sings of material possessions, Maserati cars and diamond rings, and brings a furious energy.
It's apparent that Lil Nas X is just coming into the country experience while Cyrus, a veteran to the lifestyle, has moved onto more material things and wants to take a step back. No matter what genre this song falls into, it's brilliant. Listen to the genre-bending "Old Town Road" remix up above.