Lil Nas X pundits: Egg on their faces on Old Town Road

The Lil Nas X brouhaha continues as pundits at certain publications change their tune on coverage of the ‘Old Town Road’ Billboard controversy by an influential country music website Saving Country Music. I’ve covered this in my own way, but what struck me about the latest developments is the refusal of some pundits to correct the record even when facts prove them wrong.

Profile picture; Lil Nas X on Facebook
Profile picture; Lil Nas X on Facebook (facebook.com/LilNasX/)

In a nutshell, Saving Country Music and site editor Kyle Coroneos were targeted as some of the inspiration for Billboard removing ‘Old Town Road’ from country charts. Wafting across media like smell from an overflowing sewer, critics asserted country music fans’ racism, among other things, for Billboard’s decision.

SCM put this in context:

“As Lil Nas X’s manager Danny Kang has admitted, Lil Nas X chose country as the genre for “Old Town Road” in metadata listings to game the system, and to receive more traction since the song would chart better in country where it would face less competition. Danny Kang told Rolling Stone on March 26th, “There’s a way to manipulate the algorithm to push your track to the top. That’s favorable versus trying to go to the rap format to compete with the most popular songs in the world.”

SCM didn’t write about the dustup until after Billboard made its decision. SCM didn’t influence the decision.

I wrote about it all shortly thereafter. I hold the position that ‘Old Town Road’ is as country as many of the songs I hear on one of the music channels on TV purporting to be country. That’s not saying a lot, I admit. Pop has intruded on country aggressively. I think Lil Nas X is a very smart guy to see the opportunity tech offered him. You can’t buy the kind of advertising he’s gotten for free.

I often disagree with positions on music held by other bloggers, including some opinions held by SCM. What I most passionately disagree with, however, is writing a lie for your own benefit, and that’s what pundits did in hopes of making a case of racism against country fans and a country music site instead of writing accurately about the Billboard decision. Salon long ago lost credibility in my opinion; I don’t read there or cite it as a source. One accuser, a woman apparently so proud of her PhD she tags it on every social media page, actually teaches at Georgia Tech. So much for education.

Country music fans didn’t do Lil Nas X’s country numbers in. Billboard protected its algorithm. It’s so simple even an idiot can comprehend.

As for country and rap and all that, spoken word has long been part of Anglo and others’ history. War drum beating, chants—part and parcel of history. And history repeats itself. Ironically rap is closer to country in spiritual and cadence terms than pop can ever hope to be.

In times past, when I was young, nonfiction writing was anchored around getting at the truth. That concept is deader than a unicorn, trodden into the dust in places like Old Town Road, obliterated by sanctimonious sophists who view themselves as cultural prophets. What surprises me is that anyone reads Salon anymore.

(Kay B. Day/June 18, 2019)

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