After his ouster from the Hot Country US song charts triggered outrage and catapulted him to overnight fame, genre-bending artist Lil Nas X is up for a Country Music Award.
His now-ubiquitous record-breaking megahit “Old Town Road” – which marries twangy banjo with thumping bass – will compete for “Musical Event of the Year” at this year’s CMAs, organizers announced Wednesday.
The infectious single by the Atlanta native was famously booted from Billboard’s country list, with the industry tracker saying it was not in line with the genre’s sound.
Its removal sparked anger over perceived white-washing in the country music industry, with many saying the novice musician’s hit was pigeonholed as hip hop purely because he is black.
Billboard denied those allegations – but didn’t allow “Old Town Road” back onto the country chart, even after genre veteran Billy Rae Cyrus offered vocals for a remix of the hit, which is the version up for a CMA.
Since then Lil Nas X broke the decades-old record for longest reign over the Billboard Hot 100, the industry’s most closely watched singles chart, holding the spot for 19 weeks and fending off advances from pop juggernauts including Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber.
This week the unknown artist-turned-industry maverick along with Cyrus snagged MTV Video Music Award for Best Song.
The collaborators will now compete at the CMAs in November against country artists including Maren Morris and Garth Brooks.
Rapper Lil Nas X nominated for Country Music Award