Lil Nas X expressed his complicated feelings for Beyoncé and Shaboozey's country success.

Lil Nas X Has Complicated Feelings About Beyoncé’s Cowboy Carter

"I wish this would have happened for me."

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Lil Nas X isn’t your average artist. He’s reintroduced himself as several different acts over the years: an angsty pop-punker, a radio friendly rapper and most notably, a country-trap star who was shunned for not being “country enough.” There’s no denying that country music is having a breakthrough moment right now — especially for Black artists such as Tanner Adell, Beyoncé, and Shaboozey. And though Lil Nas X has moved on from that sound, he can’t help but wish the genre would’ve embraced him more.

In a May 19 interview with BBC, Lil Nas X said that he was “happy” to see the mainstream celebrate Shaboozey’s latest single, “A Bar Song (Tipsy),” and Beyoncé’s country-folk album, Cowboy Carter. However, those triumphs made him reflect on the mixed reception he received for 2019’s “Old Town Road.” “I wish this would have happened for me,” he said. “I wasn’t even able to experience this.”

“Old Town Road” was put through the ringer after its release. Though the track — which first went viral on TikTok — racked up some historic accolades, Billboard removed it from their Hot Country Songs chart for not meeting the genre’s standards in April 2019. This controversial decision confused fans, especially considering the track’s country overtones were always obvious.

Shortly after Billboard’s verdict, he teamed up with Billy Ray Cyrus for the “Old Town Road” remix. This duet garnered the pop-rapper a Grammy win (specifically, for Best Music Video) and a CMA Award; however, the controversy still lingered.

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Beyond the chart erasure, the reception surrounding “Old Town Road” spurred a deeper conversation on what was considered “authentic country.” This take also plagued Cowboy Carterwhich features verses from Shaboozey and other rising Black country artistsbefore it even released, and it hit a new echelon after Beyoncé shared the album’s lead single “Texas Hold ‘Em.” Despite the loudly racial backlash, the track landed on top of the Hot Country Songs Chart. However, it was never taken off the list like “Old Town Road.”

Lil Nas X recently doubled down on his stance on X (formerly known as Twitter). He quote-tweeted the Rolling Stone’s coverage of his quotes, saying: “i said im proud and happy for them while i also wish i wasn’t removed from the chart.. especially now that country has more trap/rap influences than ever.”

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The treatment Lil Nas X received hasn’t completely wavered him away from the genre, though. In the BBC interview, the rap-singer revealed he’d been “trying out some country [sounds] here and there over the last couple of years.” But ultimately, he wants to “feel connected to it and not force it.”