It’s been months since Lil Nas X became a household name. In that time, he’s set streaming records, won two VMAs, made 500 million remixes of “Old Town Road,” and most recently, he was nominated for a Country Music Award for Musical Event of the Year.
Other nominees include Maren Morris’s “All My Favorite People,” Brooks & Dunn’s “Brand New Man,” Garth Brooks and Blake Shelton’s “Dive Bar,” and Brantley Gilbert and Lindsay Ell’s “What Happens in a Small Town.” If we’re being honest here, I actually haven’t heard any of these other songs, and I am shocked and impressed that Brooks & Dunn are still making music. Frankly, there hasn’t really ever been a bigger musical event than “Old Town Road.” The song literally brought Billy Ray Cyrus back.
But let’s turn the clock back a little bit, to just before “Old Town Road” took over the North American continent, to the first time that Lil Nas X’s song was charting on Billboard’s country music charts. Because a bunch of country music purists (read: racists? Bitter jealous people? Bored bitter jealous people? Bored, bitter, jealous racists?) complained, the song was removed from the charts – Lil Nas X apparently didn’t get to count as country music artist and the song “[did] not embrace enough elements of today’s country music to chart in its current version.” Billboard’s decision to reject the song launched a thousand think pieces, the sad cowboy emoji, and ironically, Lil Nas X’s career.
Lil Nas, ever so gracefully, tweeted out a simple thank you in response to news of the nomination.
It will be interesting to see how the Country Music Award crowd will react to Lil Nas X’s attendance. They were memorably not chill in 2016 when Beyonce and the Dixie Chicks performed “Daddy Issues.” We’ll find out on November 13, when the CMAs air on ABC.