Lil Nas X Laments He Wasn’t 'Able To Experience' Beyoncé's Country Music Success

As grateful as he is for Beyoncé’s triumphant foray into country music, Lil Nas X says he wishes he could’ve experienced some of that record-smashing success firsthand.

In a BBC interview published this week, the rapper and singer was asked about Beyoncé’s “Texas Hold ’Em,” which became the first song performed by a Black female artist to hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart back in February.

After 10 weeks at the top, “Texas Hold ’Em,” which appears on Beyoncé’s “Cowboy Carter” album, was dethroned on the Billboard chart by another Black artist — Shaboozey’s “A Bar Song (Tipsy).”

Though Lil Nas X told the BBC he was “happy” for both Beyoncé and Shaboozey, he added, “But I wish this would have happened for me. I wasn’t even able to experience this.”

The two-time Grammy winner was likely alluding to the discourse that ensued following the success of his song, “Old Town Road,” which was released in December 2018 but became a hit the following year.

Despite the song’s allusions to country and cowboy imagery, as well as a high-profile remix featuring country legend Billy Ray Cyrus, Billboard disqualified it from the Hot Country Songs chart, telling Rolling Stone in 2019 that “it does not embrace enough elements of today’s country music to chart in its current version.”

Beyoncé and Lil Nas X. The
Beyoncé and Lil Nas X. The "Old Town Road" artist recently said he wished "this would have happened for me" in regard to Beyoncé and Shaboozey having their songs hit No. 1 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart. Getty Images

As some music critics pointed out at the time, the decision reinforced the perception of country as a conservative-leaning genre that has been slow to include both artists of color and LGBTQ+ musicians. Lil Nas X, who is gay, spoke publicly about his sexuality just as “Old Town Road” was gaining momentum.

It’s worth noting that “Texas Hold ’Em” was met with some resistance from country radio at first. The song was only added to the rotation of a number of country stations after Beyoncé fans spoke out against her exclusion.

But the debacle didn’t have much impact on the trajectory of “Old Town Road,” which spent 19 weeks atop Billboard’s Hot 100 chart that measures the most commercially successful songs in the U.S. It also broke the record for most weeks at No. 1, an accomplishment previously jointly held by 1995’s “One Sweet Day” by Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men and 2017’s “Despacito” by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee, featuring Justin Bieber.

After “Old Town Road” catapulted him into the spotlight, Lil Nas X has enjoyed further success in pop, rap and hip-hop. Two of his subsequent singles, “Montero (Call Me by Your Name)” and “Industry Baby,” the latter of which featured a guest spot by Jack Harlow, also topped Billboard’s Hot 100 chart.

This week, Lil Nas X appeared on “He Knows,” the lead single on pop singer Camila Cabello’s upcoming fourth album.

Though he’s notably steered clear of country, he hasn’t ruled out a return to the genre, telling the BBC he’s tried out some “country [sounds] here and there over the last couple of years.”

“I want to feel connected to it and not force it,” he added.